Monday, September 19th
8:30am-12:00pm EDT


Refresher Course


601 B

Neuro-Immune Interactions in Chronic Pain – A Topical Overview

Neuro-immune interactions are crucial to many chronic pain states. This workshop will not only provide an overview of the “classical players” that have been implicated, e.g. macrophages and microglia, but will also introduce attendees to recent topical ideas and findings; should pain researchers understand more about stromal cell immunology, given that fibroblasts drive chronic inflammation in many diseases? Are we at risk of forgetting the early pain literature on the autonomic nervous system, which could be a crucial player in neuro-immune communication? And finally, what do we need to know about auto-antibodies to make sense of pain in auto-immune disease?


8:30am EDT12:00pm EDT

Adaptive Immunity and Autoimmune Dysfunction in Chronic Pain

Categories: Refresher Course

The immune system can be divided into two functional arms: the innate and adaptive immune
systems. While the contribution of innate immune cells and associated factors to acute and chronic pain have been well established, the roles of the adaptive immune cells are less clear. However, emerging data point to an involvement of T and B cells in pain regulation and that autoimmune mechanisms can promote chronic pain through various processes. This session will provide a brief overview of the adaptive immune system and highlight recent findings linking the adaptive immune cells and related factors to chronic pain. Rheumatoid arthritis will be used as one prime example to demonstrate how autoimmune components such release of autoreactive antibodies can contribute to pain chronicity, both in terms of a direct effect on neurons via Fc-gamma receptors and indirect by actions on other non-immune cells such as osteoclasts. The importance of interdisciplinary research will also be illustrated – with examples of how collaboration across fields has accelerated our understanding of pain in rheumatoid arthritis.

8:30am EDT12:00pm EDT

Neuro-Immune Interactions in Autonomic Nervous System (Dys)Function

Categories: Refresher Course

Nerve injuries often lead to chronic neuropathic pain associated with peripheral and central neuro-immunological activation and inflammatory responses of injured tissue. Within these, a
wide range of soluble factors including neuropeptides, classical neurotransmitters, cytokines, and other molecules mediate complex cross-talk among nerves and immune cells. These neuroimmune interactions are bidirectional and occur at multiple levels, including peripheral barriers such as the skin and mucosal surfaces, lymphoid organs as well as the central (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS). Within the PNS, sensory afferents and autonomic efferents not only coordinate responses suited to preserve tissue integrity but also may initiate or maintain abnormal function. Evidence from experimental models indicate that neuroimmune
interactions contribute to the pathophysiology of several disorders, beyond others complex regional pain syndrome. Different disorders with autonomic dysfunction and their associated neuro-immune interactions will be presented and discussed within this talk.

8:30am EDT12:00pm EDT

Neuro-Immune Interactions in Pain – The Basics and Beyond

Categories: Refresher Course
Presented By: Franziska Denk

Neuro-immune interactions have been a prominent topic for research in chronic pain over many years. This session will present some of the classical experiments that have been performed in this area and demonstrate why macrophages and microglia have been pain biology’s favourite immune cell types to date. Attendees will also be introduced to more recent findings, such as the interaction between neurons and stromal cells, and the importance of sex differences in immune cell function.


Franziska Denk

Associate Professor
King's College London

Professor Janne Gierthmühlen

Senior physician and researcher
Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel; Sektion neurologische Schmerzforschung und -therapie

Professor Camilla I Svensson

Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden