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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 May 2021 - 14 May 2021


Pain Rep



Autoimmune regulation of chronic pain.


Lacagnina MJ, Heijnen CJ, Watkins LR, Grace PM
Pain Rep. 2021; 6(1):e905.
PMID: 33981931.


Chronic pain is an unpleasant and debilitating condition that is often poorly managed by existing therapeutics. Reciprocal interactions between the nervous system and the immune system have been recognized as playing an essential role in the initiation and maintenance of pain. In this review, we discuss how neuroimmune signaling can contribute to peripheral and central sensitization and promote chronic pain through various autoimmune mechanisms. These pathogenic autoimmune mechanisms involve the production and release of autoreactive antibodies from B cells. Autoantibodies-ie, antibodies that recognize self-antigens-have been identified as potential molecules that can modulate the function of nociceptive neurons and thereby induce persistent pain. Autoantibodies can influence neuronal excitability by activating the complement pathway; by directly signaling at sensory neurons expressing Fc gamma receptors, the receptors for the Fc fragment of immunoglobulin G immune complexes; or by binding and disrupting ion channels expressed by nociceptors. Using examples primarily from rheumatoid arthritis, complex regional pain syndrome, and channelopathies from potassium channel complex autoimmunity, we suggest that autoantibody signaling at the central nervous system has therapeutic implications for designing novel disease-modifying treatments for chronic pain.