But pain is more than the body’s miniature cattle prod to get us to heed a wound, rest a swollen ankle, or stop eating chili peppers. Pain may be the language between animals and microbes.
Far from being a product of an inflamed immune system, aggravated nerves far from the spine and brain appear to communicate with invading bacteria and regulate the fight against them, according to a study published online lately in the journal Nature. And at least one tenacious bacterium shows the ability to manipulate a pain signal to put the brakes on a mammal's molecular defenses, the study suggests.
Can bacteria use pain to tamp down the immune system?
Image credits: ASM Moicrobelibrary.org Miller and Hanley
Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine