The worldwide prevalence of allergic disorders has markedly increased over the past few decades. Allergic disorders are associated with neuropsychiatric conditions; however, the relationship between allergic inflammation and central nervous system complications is unknown. Atopic myelitis, a peculiar myelitis presenting with persistent neuropathic pain, has been reported in patients with allergic disorders, but the mechanisms are still unknown. A study published on November 23, 2016 in the journal of neuroscience examined how the tendency to develop allergic disorders, referred to as atopy, influences the body’s pain system.
Mice with allergic disorders had severe allodynia (neuropathic pain) with activated astroglia and microglia, and showed marked upregulation of endothelin-1 (ET-1) receptor type B (EDNRB) in the spinal cord. A selective EDNRB antagonist prevented allodynia and glial activation.
The findings suggest a novel mechanism whereby atopy induces glial activation and neuropathic pain via an ET-1/EDNRB pathway.
Fig. 1. Schematic flowchart of atopy-related allodynia (neuropathic pain).