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Papers of the Week

Papers: 5 Aug 2023 - 11 Aug 2023


Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Neuropathic Pain

2023 Aug 02

Eur J Pharmacol


Potential role of Schwann cells in neuropathic pain.


Zhang WJ, Liu SC, Ming LG, Yu JW, Zuo C, Hu DX, Luo HL, Zhang Q


Neuropathic pain (NPP) is a common syndrome associated with most forms of cancer, which poses a serious threat to human health. NPP may persist even after the nociceptive stimulation is eliminated, and treatment is extremely challenging in such cases. Schwann cells (SCs) form the myelin sheaths around neuronal axons and play a crucial role in neural information transmission. SCs can secrete trophic factors to nourish and protect axons, and can further secrete pain-related factors to induce pain. SCs may be activated by peripheral nerve injury, triggering the transformation of myelinated and non-myelinated SCs into cell phenotypes that specifically promote repair. These differentiated SCs provide necessary signals and spatial clues for survival, axonal regeneration, and nerve regeneration of damaged neurons. They can further change the microenvironment around the regions of nerve injury, and relieve the pain by repairing the injured nerve. Herein, we provide a comprehensive overview of the biological characteristics of SCs, discuss the relationship between SCs and nerve injury, and explore the potential mechanism of SCs and the occurrence of NPP. Moreover, we summarize the feasible strategies of SCs in the treatment of NPP, and attempt to elucidate the deficiencies and defects of SCs in the treatment of NPP.