News Release

Microglia transmit pain to the brain during stress

Findings suggest a new cellular target for alleviating stress-induced pain

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Society for Neuroscience

Microglial Activation

image: Figure 2. Repeated social defeat caused region-specific microglial activation in the spinal cord. Male C57BL/6 mice were subjected to six days of repeated social defeat (Stress) or left undisturbed as controls (Con). Mice were perfused and spinal cords were paraformaldehyde (PFA) fixed 14 hours after the last day of stress. Microglial activation (P2Y12 expression) was assessed in the lumbar spinal cord. A) Representative images within the cap of the dorsal horn of P2Y12 labeling. view more 

Credit: Sawicki et al., <i>JNeurosci</i> (2018)

Research in male mice published in JNeurosci demonstrates activation of microglia in the spinal cord is responsible for increased pain sensitivity in response to stress.

John Sheridan and colleagues identified an inflammatory environment in the spinal cord caused by repeated exposure to an aggressive mouse -- an established model of psychosocial stress -- that accompanied lower pain thresholds observed in the stressed mice. Stress increased expression of inflammatory genes and activation of microglia in spinal cord regions involved in pain processing. Eliminating microglia from the spinal cord prevented these effects. These findings suggest a new cellular target for alleviating stress-induced pain.


Article: Microglia Promote Increased Pain Behavior through Enhanced Inflammation in the Spinal Cord During Repeated Social Defeat Stress

Corresponding author: Johnathan Godbout (The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, OH, USA),

About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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