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The role of microRNAs in neurons and neuroimmune communication in the dorsal root ganglia in chronic pain

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Original languageEnglish
Article number135230
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Volume735
DOIs
Published14 Sep 2020

King's Authors

Abstract

Despite being a life-restricting condition, chronic pain remains poorly treated. A better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of chronic pain and thence development of innovative targets is therefore essential. Recently we have started to elucidate the importance of the role of microRNAs (miRs) in preclinical chronic pain. miRs are small, non-coding RNAs that regulate genes including those involved in nociceptive signalling. MiRs can exert their effects both intracellularly and extracellularly, the latter of which requires that they are released either as naked species or packaged in exosomes. Here we discuss changes in miR expression that occur in the dorsal root ganglia in murine models of chronic pain. We consider the downstream targets of changes in miR expression, including voltage-gated ion channels, as well as discuss extracellular consequences such as changes in macrophage phenotype that constitute of means by which neuron-immune cell crosstalk occurs. Such miR-mediated intracellular communication could provide a novel target for the treatment of chronic pain, which would be most effective if tailored to the specific cause of pain. Indeed, we conclude by reviewing evidence for the involvement of miRs in clinical cases of chronic pain, supporting the notion that tailored, miR-targeted therapies could prove to be an effective new strategy for the treatment of chronic pain clinically.

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