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Front Immunol ; 12: 785355, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1594099


The lungs are constantly exposed to non-sterile air which carries harmful threats, such as particles and pathogens. Nonetheless, this organ is equipped with fast and efficient mechanisms to eliminate these threats from the airways as well as prevent pathogen invasion. The respiratory tract is densely innervated by sensory neurons, also known as nociceptors, which are responsible for the detection of external stimuli and initiation of physiological and immunological responses. Furthermore, expression of functional innate receptors by nociceptors have been reported; however, the influence of these receptors to the lung function and local immune response is poorly described. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of coordinated and competent pulmonary immunity for the prevention of pathogen spread as well as prevention of excessive tissue injury. New findings suggest that lung nociceptors can be a target of SARS-CoV-2 infection; what remains unclear is whether innate receptor trigger sensory neuron activation during SARS-CoV-2 infection and what is the relevance for the outcomes. Moreover, elderly individuals often present with respiratory, neurological and immunological dysfunction. Whether aging in the context of sensory nerve function and innate receptors contributes to the disorders of these systems is currently unknown. Here we discuss the expression of innate receptors by nociceptors, particularly in the lungs, and the possible impact of their activation on pulmonary immunity. We then demonstrate recent evidence that suggests lung sensory neurons as reservoirs for SARS-CoV-2 and possible viral recognition via innate receptors. Lastly, we explore the mechanisms by which lung nociceptors might contribute to disturbance in respiratory and immunological responses during the aging process.

Aging/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Lung/immunology , Nociceptors/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Transient Receptor Potential Channels/immunology , Aged , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Lung/innervation , Lung/virology , Nociceptors/metabolism , Nociceptors/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sensory Receptor Cells/immunology , Sensory Receptor Cells/metabolism , Sensory Receptor Cells/virology , Transient Receptor Potential Channels/metabolism
Front Immunol ; 12: 783725, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1554650


Interferons (IFNs) are cytokines that possess antiviral, antiproliferative, and immunomodulatory actions. IFN-α and IFN-ß are two major family members of type-I IFNs and are used to treat diseases, including hepatitis and multiple sclerosis. Emerging evidence suggests that type-I IFN receptors (IFNARs) are also expressed by microglia, astrocytes, and neurons in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Apart from canonical transcriptional regulations, IFN-α and IFN-ß can rapidly suppress neuronal activity and synaptic transmission via non-genomic regulation, leading to potent analgesia. IFN-γ is the only member of the type-II IFN family and induces central sensitization and microglia activation in persistent pain. We discuss how type-I and type-II IFNs regulate pain and infection via neuro-immune modulations, with special focus on neuroinflammation and neuro-glial interactions. We also highlight distinct roles of type-I IFNs in the peripheral and central nervous system. Insights into IFN signaling in nociceptors and their distinct actions in physiological vs. pathological and acute vs. chronic conditions will improve our treatments of pain after surgeries, traumas, and infections.

Acute Pain/immunology , Chronic Pain/immunology , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , /immunology , Acute Pain/pathology , Animals , Chronic Pain/pathology , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Neuroglia/cytology , Neuroglia/immunology , Neuroglia/pathology , Nociceptors/immunology , Nociceptors/metabolism , Receptors, Interferon/metabolism , Signal Transduction/immunology , Spinal Cord/cytology , Spinal Cord/immunology , Spinal Cord/pathology