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Cytokines as central to peripheral sensitization and hyperalgesia 

Cytokines as central to peripheral sensitization and hyperalgesia
Cytokines as central to peripheral sensitization and hyperalgesia

John Schutzer-Weissmann

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date: 24 September 2021

The landmark study discussed in this chapter, published in a letter to Nature in 1988 by Ferreira et al., marked the beginning of a new era of pain research. It demonstrated elegantly and for the first time that cytokines are central to peripheral sensitization and the phenomenon of hyperalgesia. The authors first injected various cytokines into rats’ paws and then tested for hyperalgesic activity using a modified Randall–Sellito rat-paw pressure test. They found that interleukin-1β‎ evoked a dose-dependent hyperalgesic response in the injected paw. The investigators then tried to isolate the peptide domains that were responsible for interleukin-1β‎s hyperalgesic activity and identified two tripeptide sequences which had hyperalgesic activity. Since then, after almost three decades of inquiry into their role in the induction and maintenance of hyperalgesia and other phenomenon such as allodynia, the first human trials of interleukin-1β‎ antagonists for the treatment of pain have begun.

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