In addition to diurnal rhythms in physiology and behavior, a variety of pathological conditions also exhibit marked day-night changes in symptom intensity, exemplified by allergic rhinitis, arthritis, asthma, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, stroke and chronic pain disorders. Currently, novel therapeutic approaches are facilitated by the development of chemical compounds targeted to key proteins that cause diurnal exacerbation of pathological events. Neuropathic pain is a chronic condition that occurs by tumor-induced nerve compression, cancer cell infiltration into the nerve, diabetes and herpes virus infection. One troublesome hallmark symptom of neuropathic pain is hypersensitivity to normally innocuous stimuli known as 'mechanical allodynia' that is often refractory to common analgesic therapies. Millions of patients worldwide presently endure neuropathic pain. We summarize the recent insights gained into the mechanism of diurnal exacerbation of neuropathic pain hypersensitivity and introduce the strategy of circadian clock-based drug development.
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