The molecular details that underpin the relationship between inflammation and pain in mice are revealed in a study published online this week in Nature Immunology.
The protein DREAM has an established function in pain processing, but its function in the immune system has been little studied. Chinnaswamy Tiruppathi and colleagues find that DREAM directly dampens the abundance of A20, an important anti-inflammatory molecule in cells. Accordingly, mice lacking DREAM show increased A20, are highly resistant to sepsis and inflammatory lung injury, and produce fewer inflammatory mediators. Drugs targeting DREAM could therefore have the potential of not only reducing the pain associated with inflammation but also the injurious consequences of an over-stimulated immune response.