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Pain impacts the lives of billions of people around the world - both directly and indirectly. It is complex and transcends beyond an unpleasant sensory experience to encompass emotional experiences. To date, there are no successful treatments for sufferers of chronic pain. Although opioids do not provide any benefit to chronic pain sufferers, they are still prescribed, often resulting in more complications such as hyperalgesia and dependence. In order to develop effective and safe medications to manage, and perhaps even treat pain, it is important to evaluate novel contributors to pain pathologies. As such, in this chapter we review the role of Toll-like receptor 4, a receptor of the innate immune system, that continues to gain substantial attention in the field of pain research. Positioned in the nexus of the neuro and immune systems, TLR4 may provide one of the missing pieces in understanding the complexities of pain. Here we consider how TLR4 enables a mechanistical understanding of pain as a multidimensional biopsychosocial state from molecules to cells to systems and back again. © 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


Sanam Mustafa, Samuel Evans, Benjamin Barry, Daniel Barratt, Yibo Wang, Cong Lin, Xiaohui Wang, Mark R Hutchinson. Toll-Like Receptor 4 in Pain: Bridging Molecules-to-Cells-to-Systems. Handbook of experimental pharmacology. 2022;276:239-273

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PMID: 35434749

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