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J Pathol. 2002 Jul;197(3):281-5.

Mast cells in the pathogenesis of chronic back pain: a hypothesis.

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Musculoskeletal Research Group, Medical School, Manchester University, UK.


The pathophysiology of chronic low back pain is poorly understood, mainly because it is difficult to study experimentally or objectively. Recently it has been found that there is a relationship between neovascularization and innervation of the usually avascular and aneural intervertebral disc at the sites of discogenic pain. These data, together with the recognized involvement of mast cells in tissue repair, in the induction of angiogenesis, and in the production of and response to neurotrophic stimuli such as nerve growth factor, has suggested the hypothesis that mast cells may have a causative role in chronic low back pain. If so, the mast cell may represent an attractive therapeutic target.

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