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Nat Chem Biol. 2012 Jan 22;8(3):232-4. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.767.

Metabolomics implicates altered sphingolipids in chronic pain of neuropathic origin.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.


Neuropathic pain is a debilitating condition for which the development of effective treatments has been limited by an incomplete understanding of its chemical basis. We show by using untargeted metabolomics that sphingomyelin-ceramide metabolism is altered in the dorsal horn of rats with neuropathic pain and that the upregulated, endogenous metabolite N,N-dimethylsphingosine induces mechanical hypersensitivity in vivo. These results demonstrate the utility of metabolomics to implicate unexplored biochemical pathways in disease.

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