New research published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences details the discovery of a key driver of neuropathic pain that, according to the authors, may significantly inform the development of new therapeutic approaches to the management of pain from conditions that result in nerve damage. The UC Davis-based researchers report that a biological process called endoplasmic reticulum stress, or ER stress, is the critical trigger mechanism for neuropathic pain, and that molecular signatures known to be associated with diabetes and diabetic pain are linked to ER stress. Neuropathic pain is a common comorbidity of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, affecting up to 70% of patients.
Previous research by members of the team had demonstrated the efficacy of a class of natural bioactive lipids as analgesic agents. These analgesic lipids are broken down in the body by an enzyme, soluble epoxide hydrolase. The team was able to show that blocking soluble epoxide hydrolase blocks ER stress and associated neuropathic pain. The discovery opens the way to the development and testing of new ER stress blockers for use in treating various neuropathic pain conditions.
Read a press release from the University here.
The journal abstract may be read here.