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Environ Health Perspect. 1997 March; 105(Suppl 2): 531–537.
PMCID: PMC1469802
Research Article

Neurogenic inflammation: with additional discussion of central and perceptual integration of nonneurogenic inflammation.


The Working Group on Neurogenic Inflammation proposed 11 testable hypotheses in the three domains of neurogenic inflammation, perceptual and central integration, and nonneurogenic inflammation. The working group selected the term people reporting chemical sensitivity (PRCS) to identify the primary subject group. In the domain of neurogenic inflammation, testable hypotheses included: PRCS have an increased density of c-fiber neurons in symptomatic tissues; PRCS produce greater quantities of neuropeptides and prostanoids than nonsensitive subjects in response to exposure to low-level capsaicin or irritant chemicals; PRCS have an increased and prolonged response to exogenously administered c-fiber activators such as capsaicin; PRCS demonstrate augmentation of central autonomic reflexes following exposure to agents that produce c-fiber stimulation; PRCS have decreased quantities of neutral endopeptidase in their mucosa; exogenous neuropeptide challenge reproduces symptoms of PRCS. In the domain of perceptual and central integration, testable hypotheses included: PRCS have alterations in adaptation, habituation, cortical representation, perception, cognition, and hedonics compared to controls; the qualitative and quantitative interactions between trigeminal and olfactory systems are altered in PRCS; higher integration of sensory inputs is altered in PRCS. In the domain of nonneurogenic inflammation, testable hypotheses included: increased inflammation is present in PRCS in symptomatic tissues and is associated with a heightened neurosensory response; PRCS show an augmented inflammatory response to chemical exposure. The working group recommended that studies be initiated in these areas.

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