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Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Oct 2020 - 9 Oct 2020

2020 Oct 07


Central Nervous System Targets: Inhibitory Interneurons in the Spinal Cord.


Hughes DI, Todd AJ
Neurotherapeutics. 2020 Oct 07.
PMID: 33029722.


Pain is a percept of critical importance to our daily survival. In most cases, it serves both an adaptive function by helping us respond appropriately in a potentially hostile environment and also a protective role by alerting us to tissue damage. Normally, it is evoked by the activation of peripheral nociceptive nerve endings and the subsequent relay of information to distinct cortical and sub-cortical regions, but under pathological conditions that result in chronic pain, it can become spontaneous. Given that one in three chronic pain patients do not respond to the treatments currently available, the need for more effective analgesics is evident. Two principal obstacles to the development of novel analgesic therapies are our limited understanding of how neuronal circuits that comprise these pain pathways transmit and modulate sensory information under normal circumstances and how these circuits change under pathological conditions leading to chronic pain states. In this review, we focus on the role of inhibitory interneurons in setting pain thresholds and, in particular, how disinhibition in the spinal dorsal horn can lead to aberrant sensory processing associated with chronic pain states.