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Abstract

The study of chronic pain continues to generate ever-increasing numbers of publications, but safe and efficacious treatments for chronic pain remain elusive. Recognition of sex-specific mechanisms underlying chronic pain has resulted in a surge of studies that include both sexes. A predominant focus has been on identifying sex differences, yet many newly identified cellular mechanisms and alterations in gene expression are conserved between the sexes. Here we review sex differences and similarities in cellular and molecular signals that drive the generation and resolution of neuropathic pain. The mix of differences and similarities reflects degeneracy in peripheral and central signaling processes by which neurons, immune cells, and glia codependently drive pain hypersensitivity. Recent findings identifying critical signaling nodes foreshadow the development of rationally designed, broadly applicable analgesic strategies. However, the paucity of effective, safe pain treatments compels targeted therapies as well to increase therapeutic options that help reduce the global burden of suffering.

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2023-01-20
2024-06-23
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