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A historical perspective on the role of sensory nerves in neurogenic inflammation

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

João Sousa-Valente, Susan D. Brain

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-236
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars In Immunopathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

King's Authors


The term ‘neurogenic inflammation’ is commonly used, especially with respect to the role of sensory nerves within inflammatory disease. However, despite over a century of research, we remain unclear about the role of these nerves in the vascular biology of inflammation, as compared with their interacting role in pain processing and of their potential for therapeutic manipulation. This chapter attempts to discuss the progress in understanding, from the initial discovery of sensory nerves until the present day. This covers pioneering findings that these nerves exist, are involved in vascular events and act as important sensors of environmental changes, including injury and infection. This is followed by discovery of the contents they release such as the established vasoactive neuropeptides substance P and CGRP as well as anti-inflammatory peptides such as the opioids and somatostatin. The more recent emergence of the importance of the transient receptor potential (TRP) channels has revealed some of the mechanisms by which these nerves sense environmental stimuli. This knowledge enables a platform from which to learn of the potential role of neurogenic inflammation in disease and in turn of novel therapeutic targets.

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