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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Feb 2023 - 3 Mar 2023


Neuropathic Pain

2023 Mar 01

Nat Rev Neurol


Pain-resolving immune mechanisms in neuropathic pain.


Fiore NT, Debs SR, Hayes JP, Duffy SS, Moalem-Taylor G


Interactions between the immune and nervous systems are of central importance in neuropathic pain, a common and debilitating form of chronic pain caused by a lesion or disease affecting the somatosensory system. Our understanding of neuroimmune interactions in pain research has advanced considerably. Initially considered as passive bystanders, then as culprits in the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain, immune responses in the nervous system are now established to underpin not only the initiation and progression of pain but also its resolution. Indeed, immune cells and their mediators are well-established promoters of neuroinflammation at each level of the neural pain pathway that contributes to pain hypersensitivity. However, emerging evidence indicates that specific subtypes of immune cells (including antinociceptive macrophages, pain-resolving microglia and T regulatory cells) as well as immunoresolvent molecules and modulators of the gut microbiota-immune system axis can reduce the pain experience and contribute to the resolution of neuropathic pain. This Review provides an overview of the immune mechanisms responsible for the resolution of neuropathic pain, including those involved in innate, adaptive and meningeal immunity as well as interactions with the gut microbiome. Specialized pro-resolving mediators and therapeutic approaches that target these neuroimmune mechanisms are also discussed.