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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Feb 2023 - 17 Feb 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology


2023 Feb 03



Nociceptor neuroimmune interactomes reveal cell type- and injury-specific inflammatory pain pathways.


Jain A, Gyori BM, Hakim S, Bunga S, Taub DG, Ruiz-Cantero MC, Tong-Li C, Andrews N, Sorger PK, Woolf CJ


Inflammatory pain associated with tissue injury and infections, results from the heightened sensitivity of the peripheral terminals of nociceptor sensory neurons in response to exposure to inflammatory mediators. Targeting immune-derived inflammatory ligands, like prostaglandin E2, has been effective in alleviating inflammatory pain. However, the diversity of immune cells and the vast array of ligands they produce make it challenging to systematically map all neuroimmune pathways that contribute to inflammatory pain. Here, we constructed a comprehensive and updatable database of receptor-ligand pairs and complemented it with single-cell transcriptomics of immune cells and sensory neurons in three distinct inflammatory pain conditions, to generate injury-specific neuroimmune interactomes. We identified cell-type-specific neuroimmune axes that are common, as well as unique, to different injury types. This approach successfully predicts neuroimmune pathways with established roles in inflammatory pain as well as ones not previously described. We found that thrombospondin-1 produced by myeloid cells in all three conditions, is a negative regulator of nociceptor sensitization, revealing a non-canonical role of immune ligands as an endogenous reducer of peripheral sensitization. This computational platform lays the groundwork to identify novel mechanisms of immune-mediated peripheral sensitization and the specific disease contexts in which they act.