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Papers of the Week

Papers: 6 April 2024 - 12 April 2024

2024 Apr 05



Nociplastic pain mechanisms and toll-like receptors as promising targets for its management.


Rodríguez-Palma EJ, Huerta de la Cruz S, Islas-Espinoza AM, Castañeda-Corral G, Granados-Soto V, Khanna R


Nociplastic pain, characterized by abnormal pain processing without an identifiable organic cause, affects a significant portion of the global population. Unfortunately, current pharmacological treatments for this condition often prove ineffective, prompting the need to explore new potential targets for inducing analgesic effects in patients with nociplastic pain. In this context, toll-like receptors (TLRs), known for their role in the immune response to infections, represent promising opportunities for pharmacological intervention because they play a relevant role in both the development and maintenance of pain. Although TLRs have been extensively studied in neuropathic and inflammatory pain, their specific contributions to nociplastic pain remain less clear, demanding further investigation. This review consolidates current evidence on the connection between TLRs and nociplastic pain, with a specific focus on prevalent conditions like fibromyalgia, stress-induced pain, sleep deprivation-related pain, and irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, we explore the association between nociplastic pain and psychiatric comorbidities, proposing that modulating TLRs can potentially alleviate both pain syndromes and related psychiatric disorders. Finally, we discuss the potential sex differences in TLR signaling, considering the higher prevalence of nociplastic pain among women. Altogether, this review aims to shed light on nociplastic pain, its underlying mechanisms, and its intriguing relationship with TLR signaling pathways, ultimately framing the potential therapeutic role of TLRs in addressing this challenging condition.