Volume 93 (2017) Issue 4 Pages 174-182
Nerve injury often causes debilitating chronic pain, referred to as neuropathic pain, which is refractory to currently available analgesics including morphine. Many reports indicate that activated spinal microglia evoke neuropathic pain. The P2X4 receptor (P2X4R), a subtype of ionotropic ATP receptors, is upregulated in spinal microglia after nerve injury by several factors, including CC chemokine receptor CCR2, the extracellular matrix protein fibronectin in the spinal cord, interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8) and IRF5. Inhibition of P2X4R function suppresses neuropathic pain, indicating that microglial P2X4R play a key role in evoking neuropathic pain.