Subsequent to a peripheral nerve injury, there are changes in gene expression within the dorsal root ganglia in response to the damage. This review selects factors which are well-known to be vital for inflammation, cell death and nociception, and highlights how alterations in their gene expression within the dorsal root ganglia can affect functional recovery. The majority of studies used polymerase chain reaction within animal models to analyse the dynamic changes following peripheral nerve injuries. This review aims to highlight the factors at the gene expression level that impede functional recovery and are hence are potential targets for therapeutic approaches. Where possible the experimental model, specific time-points and cellular location of expression levels are reported.