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Molecules in pain and sex: a developing story

Mapplebeck, JCS; Beggs, S; Salter, MW; (2017) Molecules in pain and sex: a developing story. Molecular Brain , 10 , Article 9. 10.1186/s13041-017-0289-8. Green open access

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Abstract

Microglia are dynamic immune cells with diverse roles in maintaining homeostasis of the central nervous system. Dysregulation of microglia has been critically implicated in the genesis of neuropathic pain. Peripheral nerve injury, a common cause of neuropathic pain, engages microglia-neuronal signalling which causes disinhibition and facilitated excitation of spinal nociceptive pathways. However, recent literature indicates that the role of microglia in neuropathic pain is sexually dimorphic, and that female pain processing appears to be independent of microglia, depending rather on T cells. Despite this sex difference, pain signalling in the spinal cord converges downstream of microglia, as NMDAR-mediated facilitated excitation in pain transmitting neurons is consistent between males and females. Determining whether pain signalling is sexually dimorphic in humans and, further, addressing the sex bias in pain research will increase the translational relevance of preclinical findings and advance our understanding of chronic pain in women.

Type: Article
Title: Molecules in pain and sex: a developing story
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s13041-017-0289-8
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1186/s13041-017-0289-8
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s). 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Neurosciences, Neurosciences & Neurology, Sex differences, Microglia, Neuropathic Pain, T cells, Spinal Cord, PERIPHERAL-NERVE INJURY, UNDERLYING NEUROPATHIC PAIN, LAMINA-I NEURONS, SPINAL MICROGLIA, TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR, NEUROTROPHIC FACTOR, GENERAL-POPULATION, P2X(4) RECEPTORS, NMDA RECEPTORS, ANION GRADIENT
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > ICH Developmental Neurosciences Prog
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10044541
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