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Neuroimmunology

A painful release

Inflammation contributes to neuropathic pain, but the mechanisms by which neurons and inflammatory cells interact are unclear. Simeoli et al. demonstrated the release of exosomes containing miR-21 from the cell bodies of cultured mouse sensory neurons following treatment with a noxious substance. They further showed that these exosomes can be engulfed by macrophages, causing these cells to adopt a pro-inflammatory phenotype. Inhibition or deletion of miR-21 reduced the number of inflammatory macrophages in the spinal cord and mechanical hypersensitivity after nerve injury, confirming its role in neuron–macrophage communication.

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  1. Simeoli, R. et al. Exosomal cargo including microRNA regulates sensory neuron to macrophage communication after nerve trauma. Nat. Commun. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-01841-5 (2017)

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Whalley, K. A painful release. Nat Rev Neurosci 19, 7 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn.2017.159

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