Lysophosphatidic acid is associated with neuropathic pain intensity in humans: An exploratory study

<div><p>The underlying mechanisms of neuropathic pain remain to be elucidated. Basic animal research has suggested that lysophosphatidic acids, which are bioactive lipids produced by autotaxin from lysophosphatidylcholine, may play key roles in the initiation and maintenance of neuropathic pain. Here, we investigated the clinical relevance of lysophosphatidic acids signaling on neuropathic pain in humans. Eighteen patients who had been diagnosed with neuropathic pain with varied etiologies participated in the study. Cerebrospinal fluid samples were obtained by lumbar puncture and the concentrations of 12 species of lysophosphatidic acids and lysophosphatidylcholine, autotaxin, and the phosphorylated neurofilament heavy subunit were measured. Pain symptoms were assessed using an 11-point numeric rating scale and the Neuropathic Pain Symptom Inventory regarding intensity and descriptive dimensions of neuropathic pain. The total lysophosphatidic acids were significantly associated with both pain intensity and symptoms. 18:1 and 20:4 lysophosphatidic acids in particular demonstrated the most correlations with dimensions of pain symptoms. Autotaxin and the phosphorylated neurofilament heavy subunit showed no association with pain symptoms. In conclusions, lysophosphatidic acids were significantly associated with pain symptoms in neuropathic pain patients. These results suggest that lysophosphatidic acids signaling might be a potential therapeutic target for neuropathic pain.</p></div>