+1 Recommend
0 collections
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Glial contributions to visceral pain: implications for disease etiology and the female predominance of persistent pain

      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.


          In the central nervous system, bidirectional signaling between glial cells and neurons (‘neuroimmune communication') facilitates the development of persistent pain. Spinal glia can contribute to heightened pain states by a prolonged release of neurokine signals that sensitize adjacent centrally projecting neurons. Although many persistent pain conditions are disproportionately common in females, whether specific neuroimmune mechanisms lead to this increased susceptibility remains unclear. This review summarizes the major known contributions of glia and neuroimmune interactions in pain, which has been determined principally in male rodents and in the context of somatic pain conditions. It is then postulated that studying neuroimmune interactions involved in pain attributed to visceral diseases common to females may offer a more suitable avenue for investigating unique mechanisms involved in female pain. Further, we discuss the potential for primed spinal glia and subsequent neurogenic inflammation as a contributing factor in the development of peripheral inflammation, therefore, representing a predisposing factor for females in developing a high percentage of such persistent pain conditions.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 215

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          Neuronal plasticity: increasing the gain in pain.

          We describe those sensations that are unpleasant, intense, or distressing as painful. Pain is not homogeneous, however, and comprises three categories: physiological, inflammatory, and neuropathic pain. Multiple mechanisms contribute, each of which is subject to or an expression of neural plasticity-the capacity of neurons to change their function, chemical profile, or structure. Here, we develop a conceptual framework for the contribution of plasticity in primary sensory and dorsal horn neurons to the pathogenesis of pain, identifying distinct forms of plasticity, which we term activation, modulation, and modification, that by increasing gain, elicit pain hypersensitivity.
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: found
            • Article: not found

            Sex, gender, and pain: a review of recent clinical and experimental findings.

            Sex-related influences on pain and analgesia have become a topic of tremendous scientific and clinical interest, especially in the last 10 to 15 years. Members of our research group published reviews of this literature more than a decade ago, and the intervening time period has witnessed robust growth in research regarding sex, gender, and pain. Therefore, it seems timely to revisit this literature. Abundant evidence from recent epidemiologic studies clearly demonstrates that women are at substantially greater risk for many clinical pain conditions, and there is some suggestion that postoperative and procedural pain may be more severe among women than men. Consistent with our previous reviews, current human findings regarding sex differences in experimental pain indicate greater pain sensitivity among females compared with males for most pain modalities, including more recently implemented clinically relevant pain models such as temporal summation of pain and intramuscular injection of algesic substances. The evidence regarding sex differences in laboratory measures of endogenous pain modulation is mixed, as are findings from studies using functional brain imaging to ascertain sex differences in pain-related cerebral activation. Also inconsistent are findings regarding sex differences in responses to pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic pain treatments. The article concludes with a discussion of potential biopsychosocial mechanisms that may underlie sex differences in pain, and considerations for future research are discussed. This article reviews the recent literature regarding sex, gender, and pain. The growing body of evidence that has accumulated in the past 10 to 15 years continues to indicate substantial sex differences in clinical and experimental pain responses, and some evidence suggests that pain treatment responses may differ for women versus men.
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: found
              • Article: not found

              Microglial physiology: unique stimuli, specialized responses.

              Microglia, the macrophages of the central nervous system parenchyma, have in the normal healthy brain a distinct phenotype induced by molecules expressed on or secreted by adjacent neurons and astrocytes, and this phenotype is maintained in part by virtue of the blood-brain barrier's exclusion of serum components. Microglia are continually active, their processes palpating and surveying their local microenvironment. The microglia rapidly change their phenotype in response to any disturbance of nervous system homeostasis and are commonly referred to as activated on the basis of the changes in their morphology or expression of cell surface antigens. A wealth of data now demonstrate that the microglia have very diverse effector functions, in line with macrophage populations in other organs. The term activated microglia needs to be qualified to reflect the distinct and very different states of activation-associated effector functions in different disease states. Manipulating the effector functions of microglia has the potential to modify the outcome of diverse neurological diseases.

                Author and article information

                Transl Psychiatry
                Transl Psychiatry
                Translational Psychiatry
                Nature Publishing Group
                September 2016
                13 September 2016
                1 September 2016
                : 6
                : 9
                : e888
                [1 ]Discipline of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide , Adelaide, SA, Australia
                [2 ]Discipline of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide , Adelaide, SA, Australia
                [3 ]Pelvic Pain SA , Norwood, SA, Australia
                [4 ]Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Center for Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder , Boulder, CO, USA
                [5 ]ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, University of Adelaide , Adelaide, SA, Australia
                Author notes
                [* ]Discipline of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide , Medical School North 416, Frome Road, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia. E-mail: kelsi.dodds@
                Copyright © 2016 The Author(s)

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit


                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry


                Comment on this article