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Neuropathic Pain, Cholesterol, and Chemotherapy

“Inflammarafts” and CINP

An article published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine connects the dots between neuropathic pain caused by chemotherapy and normalization of cholesterol. The article states that “Neuroinflammation is a major component in the transition to and perpetuation of neuropathic pain states.” If neuroinflammation can be blocked, pain would be lessened. Juliana Navia-Pelaez, PhD, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow, commented on the quest to “ identify the role cholesterol plays in activation of microglia — immune cells of the spinal cord — and regulation of chronic pain.

It is well known that too much cholesterol can lead to heart attack and strokes. These researchers learned that cholesterol metabolism changes assisted microglia reprogramming, leading to spinal cord chronic inflammation, and chronic pain. By quickening the removal of cholesterol, with an injection of a apoA-I binding protein, pain was reversed with no adverse effects, and the “patient” remained painfree for several weeks. The patients were mice, and more research is needed before it can be tested on humans.


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