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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 May 2020 - 29 May 2020

Pharmacology/Drug Development

2020 May 22

Pharmacol Ther

Chemokines in chronic pain: cellular and molecular mechanisms and therapeutic potential.


Jiang B-C, Liu T, Gao Y-J
Pharmacol Ther. 2020 May 22:107581.
PMID: 32450191.


Chronic pain resulting from nerve injury, tissue inflammation, and tumor invasion or treatment, is a major health problem impacting the quality of life and producing a significant economic and social burden. However, the current analgesic drugs including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids are inadequate to relieve chronic pain due to the lack of efficacy or severe side-effects. Chemokines are a family of small secreted proteins that bind to G protein-coupled receptors to trigger intracellular signaling pathways and direct cell migration, proliferation, survival, and inflammation under homeostatic and pathological conditions. Accumulating evidence supports the important role of chemokines and chemokine receptors in the peripheral and central nervous system in mediating chronic pain via enhancing neuroinflammation. In this review, we focus on recent progress in understanding the comprehensive roles of chemokines and chemokine receptors in the generation and maintenance of different types of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain, inflammatory pain, cancer pain, and visceral pain. The current review also summarizes the upstream signaling of transcriptional and epigenetic regulation on the expression of chemokines and chemokine receptors as well as the downstream signaling of chemokine receptors underlying chronic pain. As chronic itch and chronic pain share some common mechanisms, we also discuss the emerging roles of chemokines and chemokine receptors in chronic itch. Targeting specific chemokines or chemokine receptors by siRNAs, blocking antibodies, or small-molecule antagonists may offer new therapeutic potential for the management of chronic pain.