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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 May 2021 - 14 May 2021


Pain Rep



Changes in blood-spinal cord barrier permeability and neuroimmune interactions in the underlying mechanisms of chronic pain.


Advancing our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of chronic pain is instrumental to the identification of new potential therapeutic targets. Neuroimmune communication throughout the pain pathway is of crucial mechanistic importance and has been a major focus of preclinical chronic pain research over the last 2 decades. In the spinal cord, not only do dorsal horn neurons partake in mechanistically important bidirectional communication with resident immune cells such as microglia, but in some cases, they can also partake in bidirectional crosstalk with immune cells, such as monocytes/macrophages, which have infiltrated into the spinal cord from the circulation. The infiltration of immune cells into the spinal cord can be partly regulated by changes in permeability of the blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB). Here, we discuss evidence for and against a mechanistic role for BSCB disruption and associated changes in neuroimmune crosstalk in preclinical chronic pain. We also consider recent evidence for its potential involvement in the vincristine model of chemotherapy-induced painful neuropathy. We conclude that current knowledge warrants further investigation to establish whether preventing BSCB disruption, or targeting the changes associated with this disruption, could be used for the development of novel approaches to treating chronic pain.