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The therapeutic potential of targeting chemokine signalling in the treatment of chronic pain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Early online date24 Feb 2017
Accepted/In press6 Dec 2016
E-pub ahead of print24 Feb 2017


King's Authors


Chronic pain is a distressing condition, which is experienced even when the painful stimulus, whether surgery or disease related, has subsided. Current treatments for chronic pain show limited efficacy and come with a host of undesirable side-effects, and thus there is a need for new, more effective therapies to be developed. The mechanisms underlying chronic pain are not fully understood at present, although pre-clinical models have facilitated the progress of this understanding considerably in the last decade. The mechanisms underlying chronic pain were initially thought to be neurocentric. However, we now appreciate that non-neuronal cells play a significant role in nociceptive signalling through their communication with neurons. One of the major signalling pathways, which mediates neuron/non-neuronal communication, is chemokine signalling. In this review, we discuss selected chemokines that have been reported to play a pivotal role in the mechanisms underlying chronic pain in a variety of pre-clinical models. Approaches that target each of the chemokines discussed in this review come with their advantages and disadvantages; however, the inhibition of chemokine actions is emerging as an innovative therapeutic strategy, which is now reaching the clinic, with the chemokine Fractalkine and its CX3CR1 receptor leading the way. This article is part of the special article series "Pain".

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