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Peripheral neuroimmune interaction in the onset and maintenance of pain

Diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), spinal cord injury, and diabetic neuropathy, often have a pain component that severely affects quality of life for patients. Understanding the interactions that occur between the immune and nervous system, particularly at the cellular and molecular level, will help identify specific mechanisms of disease contributing to pain. Using a bedside-to-bench approach, we will identify and study mediators expressed in patients with chronic pain using animal models of disease. The focus of this aim will be the i nteractions that occur between immune cell products and the transient receptor potential ( TRP) family of ion channel s that are expressed by sensory neurons and critical for the processing of peripheral/central pain stimuli.