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Papers: 22 Jun 2024 - 28 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 18

Int J Mol Sci




New Insight into Neuropathic Pain: The Relationship between α7nAChR, Ferroptosis, and Neuroinflammation.


Luo F, Huang C


Neuropathic pain, which refers to pain caused by a lesion or disease of the somatosensory system, represents a wide variety of peripheral or central disorders. Treating neuropathic pain is quite demanding, primarily because of its intricate underlying etiological mechanisms. The central nervous system relies on microglia to maintain balance, as they are associated with serving primary immune responses in the brain next to cell communication. Ferroptosis, driven by phospholipid peroxidation and regulated by iron, is a vital mechanism of cell death regulation. Neuroinflammation can be triggered by ferroptosis in microglia, which contributes to the release of inflammatory cytokines. Conversely, neuroinflammation can induce iron accumulation in microglia, resulting in microglial ferroptosis. Accumulating evidence suggests that neuroinflammation, characterized by glial cell activation and the release of inflammatory substances, significantly exacerbates the development of neuropathic pain. By inhibiting microglial ferroptosis, it may be possible to prevent neuroinflammation and subsequently alleviate neuropathic pain. The activation of the homopentameric α7 subtype of the neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR) has the potential to suppress microglial activation, transitioning M1 microglia to an M2 phenotype, facilitating the release of anti-inflammatory factors, and ultimately reducing neuropathic pain. Recent years have witnessed a growing recognition of the regulatory role of α7nAChR in ferroptosis, which could be a potential target for treating neuropathic pain. This review summarizes the mechanisms related to α7nAChR and the progress of ferroptosis in neuropathic pain according to recent research. Such an exploration will help to elucidate the relationship between α7nAChR, ferroptosis, and neuroinflammation and provide new insights into neuropathic pain management.