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J Neurosci Res. 2018 Jun;96(6):1002-1020. doi: 10.1002/jnr.24150. Epub 2017 Sep 2.

Circadian control of pain and neuroinflammation.

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Department of Biomedical & Molecular Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


The importance of a neuroinflammatory response to the development and maintenance of inflammatory and neuropathic pain have been highlighted in recent years. Inflammatory cells contributing to this response include circulating immune cells such as monocytes, T and B lymphocytes, and neutrophils, as well as microglia in the central nervous system. Pain signals are transmitted via sensory neurons in the peripheral nervous system, which express various receptors and channels that respond to mediators secreted from these inflammatory cells. Chronobiological rhythms, which include the 24-hr circadian cycle, have recently been shown to regulate both nervous and immune cell activity and function. This review examines the current literature on chronobiological control of neuroinflammatory processes, with a focus on inflammatory and neuropathic pain states. While the majority of this work has stemmed from observational studies in humans, recent advances in using animal models have highlighted distinct mechanisms underlying these interactions. Better understanding interactions between the circadian and neuroimmune systems can help guide the development of new treatments and provide improved care for patients suffering from acute and chronic pain.


chronobiology; cytokines; diurnal; neuroinflammation; nociception


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