I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 20 Aug 2022 - 26 Aug 2022

2022 Aug 02

Int J Mol Sci



The Role of Neuro-Immune Interaction in Chronic Pain Conditions; Functional Somatic Syndrome, Neurogenic Inflammation, and Peripheral Neuropathy.


Functional somatic syndromes are increasingly diagnosed in chronically ill patients presenting with an array of symptoms not attributed to physical ailments. Conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia syndrome, or irritable bowel syndrome are common disorders that belong in this broad category. Such syndromes are characterised by the presence of one or multiple chronic symptoms including widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep disorders, and abdominal pain, amongst other issues. Symptoms are believed to relate to a complex interaction of biological and psychosocial factors, where a definite aetiology has not been established. Theories suggest causative pathways between the immune and nervous systems of affected individuals with several risk factors identified in patients presenting with one or more functional syndromes. Risk factors including stress and childhood trauma are now recognised as important contributors to chronic pain conditions. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse during childhood is considered a severe stressor having a high prevalence in functional somatic syndrome suffers. Such trauma permanently alters the biological stress response of the suffers leading to neuroexcitatory and other nerve issues associated with chronic pain in adults. Traumatic and chronic stress results in epigenetic changes in stress response genes, which ultimately leads to dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, the autonomic nervous system, and the immune system manifesting in a broad array of symptoms. Importantly, these systems are known to be dysregulated in patients suffering from functional somatic syndrome. Functional somatic syndromes are also highly prevalent co-morbidities of psychiatric conditions, mood disorders, and anxiety. Consequently, this review aims to provide insight into the role of the nervous system and immune system in chronic pain disorders associated with the musculoskeletal system, and central and peripheral nervous systems.