21 August 2019

Specialized cutaneous Schwann cells initiate pain sensation

An essential prerequisite for the survival of an organism is the ability to detect and respond to aversive stimuli. Current belief is that noxious stimuli directly activate nociceptive sensory nerve endings in the skin. We discovered a specialized cutaneous glial cell type with extensive processes forming a mesh-like network in the subepidermal border of the skin that conveys noxious thermal and mechanical sensitivity. We demonstrate a direct excitatory functional connection to sensory neurons and provide evidence of a previously unknown organ that has an essential physiological role in sensing noxious stimuli. Thus, these glial cells, which are intimately associated with unmyelinated nociceptive nerves, are inherently mechanosensitive and transmit nociceptive information to the nerve … ABSTRACT

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