Linda R. Watkins

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Vertebrates achieve internal homeostasis during infection or injury by balancing the activities of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory pathways. Endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide), produced by all gram-negative bacteria, activates macrophages to release cytokines that are potentially lethal. The central nervous system regulates systemic inflammatory responses(More)
The degree of behavioral control that an organism has over a stressor is a potent modulator of the stressor's impact; uncontrollable stressors produce numerous outcomes that do not occur if the stressor is controllable. Research on controllability has focused on brainstem nuclei such as the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN). Here we find that the infralimbic and(More)
Glia have emerged as key contributors to pathological and chronic pain mechanisms. On activation, both astrocytes and microglia respond to and release a number of signalling molecules, which have protective and/or pathological functions. Here we review the current understanding of the contribution of glia to pathological pain and neuroprotection, and how(More)
The brain and immune system form a bidirectional communication network in which the immune system operates as a diffuse sense organ, informing the brain about events in the body. This allows the activation of immune cells to produce physiological, behavioral, affective, and cognitive changes that are collectively called sickness, which function to promote(More)
Pain is classically viewed as being mediated solely by neurons, as are other sensory phenomena. The discovery that spinal cord glia (microglia and astrocytes) amplify pain requires a change in this view. These glia express characteristics in common with immune cells in that they respond to viruses and bacteria, releasing proinflammatory cytokines, which(More)
Chronic pain can occur after peripheral nerve injury, infection, or inflammation. Under such neuropathic pain conditions, sensory processing in the affected body region becomes grossly abnormal. Despite decades of research, currently available drugs largely fail to control such pain. This review explores the possibility that the reason for this failure lies(More)
Mirror-image allodynia is a mysterious phenomenon that occurs in association with many clinical pain syndromes. Allodynia refers to pain in response to light touch/pressure stimuli, which normally are perceived as innocuous. Mirror-image allodynia arises from the healthy body region contralateral to the actual site of trauma/inflammation. Virtually nothing(More)
Fractalkine is a unique chemokine reported to be constitutively expressed by neurons. Its only receptor, CX3CR1, is expressed by microglia. Little is known about the expression of fractalkine and CX3CR1 in spinal cord. Given that peripheral nerve inflammation and/or injury gives rise to neuropathic pain, and neuropathic pain may be partially mediated by(More)
The term 'learned helplessness' refers to a constellation of behavioral changes that follow exposure to stressors that are not controllable by means of behavioral responses, but that fail to occur if the stressor is controllable. This paper discusses the nature of learned helplessness, as well as the role of the dorsal raphe nucleus, serotonin, and(More)
Activated glial cells (microglia and astroglia) in the spinal cord play a major role in mediating enhanced pain states by releasing proinflammatory cytokines and other substances thought to facilitate pain transmission. In the present study, we report that intrathecal administration of minocycline, a selective inhibitor of microglial cell activation,(More)