Acute augmentation of epoxygenated fatty acid levels rapidly reduces pain-related behavior in a rat model of type I diabetes

Bora Inceoglu, Karen M. Wagner, Jun Yang, Ahmed Bettaieb, Nils H. Schebb, Sung Hee Hwang, Christophe Morisseau, Fawaz Haj, Bruce D. Hammock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The nerve damage occurring as a consequence of glucose toxicity in diabetes leads to neuropathic pain, among other problems. This pain dramatically reduces the quality of life in afflicted patients. The progressive damage to the peripheral nervous system is irreversible although strict control of hyperglycemia may prevent further damage. Current treatments include tricyclic antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and opioids, depending on the severity of the pain state. However, available therapeutics have drawbacks, arguing for the need to better understand the pathophysiology of neuropathic pain and develop novel treatments. Here we demonstrate that stabilization of a class of bioactive lipids, epoxygenated fatty acids (EpFAs), greatly reduces allodynia in rats caused by streptozocin-induced type I diabetes. Inhibitors of the soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEHI) elevated and stabilized the levels of plasma and spinal EpFAs, respectively, and generated dose-dependent antiallodynic effects more potently and efficaciously than gabapentin. In acute experiments, positive modulation of EpFAs did not display differences in insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, or insulin secretion, indicating the efficacy of sEHIs are not related to the glycemic status. Quantitative metabolomic analysis of a panel of 26 bioactive lipids demonstrated that sEHI-mediated antiallodynic effects coincided with a selective elevation of the levels of EpFAs in the plasma, and a decrease in degradation products coincided with the dihydroxy fatty acids in the spinal cord. Overall, these results argue that further efforts in understanding the spectrum of effects of EpFAs will yield novel opportunities in treating neuropathic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11390-11395
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 10 2012


  • Analgesic drug
  • Cytochrome P450
  • Glucose homeostasis
  • Motor depressant
  • Soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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