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Papers of the Week

Papers: 20 Jun 2020 - 26 Jun 2020


Front Hum Neurosci


Neuro-Immunity Controls Obesity-Induced Pain.


Eichwald T, Talbot S
Front Hum Neurosci. 2020; 14:181.
PMID: 32581740.


The prevalence of obesity skyrocketed over the past decades to become a significant public health problem. Obesity is recognized as a low-grade inflammatory disease and is linked with several comorbidities such as diabetes, circulatory disease, common neurodegenerative diseases, as well as chronic pain. Adipocytes are a major neuroendocrine organ that continually, and systemically, releases pro-inflammatory factors. While the exact mechanisms driving obesity-induced pain remain poorly defined, nociceptor hypersensitivity may result from the systemic state of inflammation characteristic of obesity as well as weight surplus-induced mechanical stress. Obesity and pain also share various genetic mutations, lifestyle risk factors, and metabolic pathways. For instance, fat pads are often found hyper-innervated and rich in immune cell types of multiple origins. These immunocytes release cytokines, amplifying nociceptor function, which, in turn, via locally released neuropeptides, sustain immunocytes' function. Here, we posit that along with mechanical stress stemming from extra weight, the local neuro-immune interplay occurring within the fat pads maintains the state of chronic low-grade inflammation and heightens sensory hypersensitivity. Overall, stopping such harmful neuro-immune crosstalk may constitute a novel pathway to prevent obesity-associated comorbidities, including neuronal hypersensitivity.