Platelet-rich plasma and cytokines in neuropathic pain: A narrative review and a clinical perspective

"Background and Objective

Neuropathic pain arises as a direct consequence of a lesion or disease affecting the somatosensory system. A number of preclinical studies have provided evidence for the involvement of cytokines, predominantly secreted by a variety of immune cells and by glial cells from the nervous system, in neuropathic pain conditions. Clinical trials and the use of anti-cytokine drugs in different neuropathic aetiologies support the relevance of cytokines as treatment targets. However, the use of such drugs, in particularly biotherapies, can provoke notable adverse effects. Moreover, it is challenging to select one given cytokine as a target, among the various neuropathic pain conditions. It could thus be of interest to target other proteins, such as growth factors, in order to act more widely on the neuroinflammation network. Thus, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), an autologous blood concentrate, is known to contain a natural concentration of growth factors and immune system messengers and is widely used in the clinical setting for tissue regeneration and repair.

Database and Data Treatment

In the present review, we critically assess the current knowledge on cytokines in neuropathic pain by taking into consideration both human studies and animal models.


This analysis of the literature highlights the pathophysiological importance of cytokines. We particularly highlight the concept of time- and tissue-dependent cytokine activation during neuropathic pain conditions.


Thus, direct or indirect cytokines modulation with biotherapies or growth factors appears relevant. In addition, we discuss the therapeutic potential of localized injection of PRP as neuropathic pain treatment by pointing out the possible link between cytokines and the action of PRP.


Preclinical and clinical studies highlight the idea of a cytokine imbalance in the development and maintenance of neuropathic pain. Clinical trials with anticytokine drugs are encouraging but are limited by a 'cytokine candidate approach' and adverse effect of biotherapies. PRP, containing various growth factors, is a new therapeutic used in regenerative medicine. Growth factors can be also considered as modulators of cytokine balance. Here, we emphasize a potential therapeutic effect of PRP on cytokine imbalance in neuropathic pain. We also underline the clinical interest of the use of PRP, not only for its therapeutic effect but also for its safety of use."


Yohann Bohren, Daniel Ionut Timbolschi, André Muller, Michel Barrot, Ipek Yalcin, Eric Salvat

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