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It is well documented that pain chronification requires a host of plastic mechanisms at the spinal cord (SC) level, including alterations in neuronal and glial structure and function. Such cellular plasticity necessitates the existence of a plastic extracellular matrix(ECM). Here, we describe a key role for ECM remodeling in the regulation of chronic pain following peripheral injury. Three weeks following tibia fracture in mice, we show increased levels of MMP8 in the SC. Furthermore, we show that the pharmacological or genetic down regulation of MMP8 ameliorates the pain phenotype observed after injury. These results delineate an extracellular mechanism for pain chronification, thereby improving our mechanistic understanding of pain and providing novel therapeutic venues that go beyond targeting individual cell types.


This article was originally published in the Journal of Pain Research, available at

This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution–Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License (



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