The year 2021 required pain researchers to continue to adapt to the myriad of challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic. Through the increased utilization of hybrid approaches, interdisciplinary collaboration, creativity, and ingenuity, this was another year of great progress for pain research.
A look back at our coverage from the past year reveals that the most popular PRF news story of 2021 explored the discovery of a sex-specific pain mechanism from the laboratory of Ru-Rong Ji at Duke University Medical Center, North Carolina, US. Among Papers of the Week in 2021, a study from Mark Zylka’s laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, US, which investigated the role of spinal macrophages in the resolution of nociceptive hypersensitivity, climbed to the top spot (see PRF related news story). Finally, PRF continued to provide virtual education via our seminar series and hosted 29 seminars in 2021. The most popular seminar of the year was “The Cultural Neuroscience of Pain” presented by Elizabeth Losin, University of Miami, Florida, US.
You can take a look at our full Top Five lists below. As we look forward to 2022, be sure to continue to visit the Pain Research Forum for more coverage of the best in pain research.
The Top 5 PRF News Stories of 2021
1. Sex-Specific Differences in Pain Mechanism (12 November 2021)
Female-specific mechanical pain is driven through macrophage-neuron crosstalk and the IL-23/IL-17A/TRPV1 axis
2. How Food Triggers the Pain of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (17 March 2021)
A local immune reaction in the colon sensitizes sensory neurons
3. I Feel Your Pain – and Analgesia (22 February 2021)
A new mouse study identifies an anterior cingulate cortex-to-nucleus accumbens brain circuit that regulates the social transfer of pain and pain relief
4. The Sensory Neuron-to-Lymph Node Connection: Understanding an Important Player in Peripheral Neuroimmune Communication (11 March 2021)
A unique population of peptidergic nociceptors regulates a variety of cell types in lymph nodes
5. Resolving Pain: Macrophages are the New Boss in Town (17 May 2021)
A subpopulation of spinal macrophages expressing CD163 resolves nociceptive hypersensitivity by activating an anti-inflammatory pathway
The Top 5 PRF Papers of the Week of 2021
1. Spinal macrophages resolve nociceptive hypersensitivity after peripheral injury
Niehaus JK, Taylor-Blake B, Loo L, Simon JM, Zylka MJ
Neuron. 2021 Feb 24.
2. Astrocytes mediate the effect of oxytocin in the central amygdala on neuronal activity and affective states in rodents
Wahis J, Baudon A, Althammer F, Kerspern D, Goyon S, Hagiwara D, Lefevre A, Barteczko L, Boury-Jamot B, Bellanger B, Abatis M, da Silva Gouveia M, Benusiglio D, Eliava M, Rozov A, Weinsanto I, Knobloch-Bollmann H S, Kirchner MK, Roy RK, Wang H, et al.
Nat Neurosci. 2021 Feb 15.
3. Transient receptor potential canonical 5 mediates inflammatory mechanical and spontaneous pain in mice
Sadler KE, Moehring F, Shiers SI, Laskowski LJ, Mikesell AR, Plautz ZR, Brezinski AN, Mecca CM, Dussor G, Price TJ, McCorvy JD, Stucky CL
Sci Transl Med. 2021 May 26.
4. Decreased dopaminergic inhibition of pyramidal neurons in anterior cingulate cortex maintains chronic neuropathic pain
Lançon K, Qu C, Navratilova E, Porreca F, Séguéla P
Cell Rep. 2021 Nov 30.
5. A neuroimaging biomarker for sustained experimental and clinical pain
Lee J-J, Kim H J, Čeko M, Park B-Y, Lee S A, Park H, Roy M, Kim S-G, Wager TD, Woo C-W
Nat Med. 2021 Jan 04.
The Top 5 PRF Virtual Seminars of 2021 (Live Attendees + Recording Views)
1. The Cultural Neuroscience of Pain (8 July 2021)
Presented by Elizabeth Losin, PhD, University of Miami, US.
2. Using Human Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) Neurons in Pain Research (25 January 2021)
Presented by Jane Hartung, PhD, and Jamie Moy, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, US.
3. Pain Education for People with Low Back Pain: Where Are We Heading? (27 January 2021)
Presented by James McAuley, PhD, University of New South Wales and Neuroscience Research Australia, Sydney, Australia.
4. Mechanisms of Itch (12 January 2021)
Presented by Pang-Yen Tseng, PhD, NIDCR, NIH, Bethesda, USA, and Fang Wang, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, US.
5. Neuropathic Pain Special Interest Group Data Blitz: Group 1 (14 September 2021)
Presented by Laura Boullon, PhD Candidate, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland, Alexander Davies, PhD, University of Oxford, UK, and Oliver Sandy-Hindmarch, PhD, University of Oxford, UK.