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Neuroinflammation, Bone Marrow Stem Cells, and Chronic Pain *

Current treatments for chronic pain, such as inflammatory pain, neuropathic pain, and cancer pain are insufficient and cause severe side effects. Mounting evidence suggests that neuroinflammation in the peripheral and central nervous system (PNS and CNS) plays a pivotal role in the genesis and maintenance of chronic pain. Characteristic features of neuroinflammation in chronic pain conditions include infiltration of immune cells into the PNS [e.g., the sciatic nerve and dorsal root ganglion (DRG)], activation of glial cells such as microglia and astrocytes in the CNS (spinal cord and brain), and production and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines [TNF, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, CCL2, and CXCL1]. Recent studies suggest that bone marrow stem cells or bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) produce powerful analgesic effects in animal models of inflammatory pain, neuropathic pain, and cancer pain. We recently demonstrated that intrathecal injection of BMSCs resulted in a long-term relief of neuropathic pain for several weeks after peripheral nerve injury. Strikingly, this analgesic effect is mediated by the anti-inflammatory cytokine transforming growth factor beta secreted from BMSCs. Additionally, BMSCs exhibit potent modulation of neuroinflammation, by inhibiting monocyte infiltration, glial activation, and cytokine/chemokine production in the DRG and spinal cord. Thus, BMSCs control chronic pain by regulation of neuroinflammation in the PNS and CNS via paracrine signaling. In this review, we discuss the similar results from different laboratories of remarkable anti-nociceptive efficacy of BMSCs in animal and clinical studies. We also discuss the mechanisms by which BMSCs control neuroinflammation and chronic pain and how these cells specifically migrate to damaged tissues.

* Legal Disclaimer: Chelation and Hyperbaric Therapy, Stem Cell Therapy, and other treatments and modalities mentioned or referred to in this web site are medical techniques that may or may not be considered “mainstream”. As with any medical treatment, results will vary among individuals, and there is no implication or guarantee that you will heal or achieve the same outcome as patients herein.

As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 10-17-2017
Authors: Yul Huh, Ru-Rong Ji and Gang Chen