Neuropathic pain (NP) is a highly invalidating disease resulting as consequence of a lesion or disease affecting the somatosensory system. All the pharmacological treatments today in use give a long lasting pain relief only in a limited percentage of patients before pain reappears making NP an incurable disease. New approaches are therefore needed and research is testing stem cell usage. Several papers have been written on experimental neuropathic pain treatment using stem cells of different origin and species to treat experimental NP. The original idea was based on the capacity of stem cell to offer a totipotent cellular source for replacing injured neural cells and for delivering trophic factors to lesion site; soon the researchers agreed that the capacity of stem cells to contrast NP was not dependent upon their regenerative effect but was mostly linked to a bidirectional interaction between the stem cell and damaged microenvironment resident cells. In this paper we review the preclinical studies produced in the last years assessing the effects induced by several stem cells in different models of neuropathic pain. The overall positive results obtained on pain remission by using stem cells that are safe, of easy isolation, and which may allow an autologous transplant in patients may be encouraging for moving from bench to bedside, although there are several issues that still need to be solved.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)