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Carmichael’s Concise Review


also elicited shaking and licking of the paw, which are con- sidered to be pain-specific behaviors, and was associated with increased electrical activity in nerves from the paw. Electrical properties of nociceptive Schwann cells in


response to mechanical stimuli were also examined in cultured cells by whole-cell current-clamp electrophysiological record- ings. It was found that nociceptive Schwann cells responded to both positive and negative changes in force but much less to sustained force. Tis and other evidence suggests a very fast response of these cells to mechanical stimuli, similar to what has been described in sensory neurons. Abdo et al. provide strong evidence for a specialized glial


cell type that forms a newly described sensory organ in the skin, responsible for initiating the sensation of pain. Te nociceptive Schwann cells and nociceptive nerves form a pain-detecting glial-neural complex with two sensor-receptor cell types: the glia and the nerve. Te functional implications of these find- ings are immense, presenting a new way that animals perceive pain. Tis is not only important for a better understanding of how the body performs this essential perception of pain, but it could play a key role in developing future therapies for dealing with pain, including treatment of debilitating clinical condi- tions such as chronic pain syndromes.


References [1] Abdo et al., Science 365 (2019) 695–99. [2] Te author gratefully acknowledges Dr. Patrik Ernfors for reviewing this article.


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