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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2005 Jul;6(7):521-32.

Role of the immune system in chronic pain.

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Neurorestoration Group and London Pain Consortium, Wolfson Wing, Hodgkin Building, Guy's Campus, King's College London, London Bridge, London SE1 1UL, UK.


During the past two decades, an important focus of pain research has been the study of chronic pain mechanisms, particularly the processes that lead to the abnormal sensitivity - spontaneous pain and hyperalgesia - that is associated with these states. For some time it has been recognized that inflammatory mediators released from immune cells can contribute to these persistent pain states. However, it has only recently become clear that immune cell products might have a crucial role not just in inflammatory pain, but also in neuropathic pain caused by damage to peripheral nerves or to the CNS.

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