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Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Aug 2019 - 9 Aug 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Aug 07

Sci Transl Med



Editor's Pick

Lysozyme elicits pain during nerve injury by neuronal Toll-like receptor 4 activation and has therapeutic potential in neuropathic pain.


The role of neuronal Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in nerve injury is being pursued actively. However, the endogenous activation of neuronal TLR4 during neuroinflammation, in absence of the participation of glial TLR4, remains elusive. Here, we identified lysozyme as an endogenous activator of neuronal TLR4 signaling during nerve injury. Upon nerve injury, enhanced expression of lysozyme promoted neuronal hyperexcitability and neuropathic pain. Injections of lysozyme in healthy rats increased their mechanical and thermal pain sensitivity. Likewise, infusion of spinal cord slices with lysozyme increased neuronal excitability typical of neuropathic pain. Our results also showed that lysozyme activated excitability of both Aδ- and C-fibers. Thus, in addition to the discovery of lysozyme as an endogenous ligand for regulating neuronal TLR4 signaling, this study also lays the foundation of our understanding of its role in nervous system pathologies, providing multiple avenues for treating neuroinflammation.