Immune system involvement in specific pain conditions

Academic Article


  • Chronic pain is a significant problem worldwide and is the most common disability in the United States. It is well known that the immune system plays a critical role in the development and maintenance of many chronic pain conditions. The involvement of the immune system can be through the release of autoantibodies, in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, or via cytokines, chemokines, and other inflammatory mediators (i.e. substance P, histamine, bradykinin, tumor necrosis factor, interleukins, and prostaglandins). Immune cells, such as T cells, B cells and their antibodies, and microglia are clearly key players in immune-related pain. The purpose of this review is to briefly discuss the immune system involvement in pain and to outline how it relates to rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and diabetic neuropathy. The immune system plays a major role in many debilitating chronic pain conditions and we believe that animal models of disease and their treatments should be more directly focused on these interactions.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Molecular Pain  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Totsch SK; Sorge RE
  • Volume

  • 13