Recent findings by Khodorova et al. demonstrate that the vasoconstrictor endothelin-1 plays an important role in certain nociceptive behaviors in an animal model of pain, through activation of sensory neurons. Endothelin-1 might also have the unexpected capacity to release an opioid from surrounding keratinocytes and thereby inhibit the pain response. Such results suggest that, in the periphery, there are important interactions between sensory nerve terminals and surrounding cells, and that glia and keratinocytes could modulate the perception of environmental stimuli to a greater extent than previously considered.
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