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Papers of the Week

Papers: 30 Jul 2022 - 5 Aug 2022

2022 Jun 22

J Neuroendocrinol

Therapeutic potential of progesterone in spinal cord injury-induced neuropathic pain: At the crossroads between neuroinflammation and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor.


In recent decades, an area of active research has supported the notion that progesterone promotes a wide range of remarkable protective actions in experimental models of nervous system trauma or disease, and has also provided a strong basis for considering this steroid as a promising molecule for modulating the complex maladaptive changes that lead to neuropathic pain, especially after spinal cord injury. In this review, we intend to give the readers a brief appraisal of the main mechanisms underlying the increased excitability of the spinal circuit in the pain pathway after trauma, with particular emphasis on those mediated by the activation of resident glial cells, the subsequent release of proinflammatory cytokines and their impact on N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor function. We then summarize the available preclinical data pointing to progesterone as a valuable repurposing molecule for blocking critical cellular and molecular events that occur in the dorsal horn of the injured spinal cord and are related to the development of chronic pain. Since the treatment and management of neuropathic pain after spinal injury remains challenging, the potential therapeutic value of progesterone opens new traslational perspectives to prevent central pain.