Gliopathic pain: When satellite glial cells go bad

Peter T. Ohara, Jean Philippe Vit, Aditi Bhargava, Marcela Romero, Christopher Sundberg, Andrew C. Charles, Luc Jasmin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Neurons in sensory ganglia are surrounded by satellite glial cells (SGCs) that perform similar functions to the glia found in the CNS. When primary sensory neurons are injured, the surrounding SGCs undergo characteristic changes. There is good evidence that the SGCs are not just bystanders to the injury but play an active role in the initiation and maintenance of neuronal changes that underlie neuropathic pain. In this article the authors review the literature on the relationship between SGCs and nociception and present evidence that changes in SGC potassium ion buffering capacity and glutamate recycling can lead to neuropathic pain-like behavior in animal models. The role that SGCs play in the immune responses to injury is also considered. We propose the term gliopathic pain to describe those conditions in which central or peripheral glia are thought to be the principal generators of principal pain generators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-463
Number of pages14
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • ATP
  • Gap junctions
  • Glutamate recycling
  • Potassium channel
  • Trigeminal ganglion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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