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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Mar 2019 - 8 Mar 2019


Animal Studies

2019 Jul 01

Brain Res


N-3 fatty acids modulate repeated stress-evoked pain chronicity.


Aizawa F, Sato S, Yamazaki F, Yao I, Yamashita T, Nakamoto K, Kasuya F, Setou M, Tokuyama S
Brain Res. 2019 Jul 01; 1714:218-226.
PMID: 30831087.


N-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have a beneficial effect in both pain and psychiatric disorders. In fact, we previously reported that stress-induced pain prolongation might be mediated through the suppression of the G-protein coupled-receptor 40/free fatty acid receptor 1 (GPR40/FFAR1), which is activated by DHA and long-chain fatty acids. However, the involvement of GPR40/FFAR1 ligands in the development of stress-induced chronic pain has not yet been described. In this study, we investigated the role of DHA in stress-evoked pain chronicity using diet-induced n-3 fatty acid deficient mice. The n-3 fatty acid deficient mice showed exacerbation of anxiety-like behavior after repeated exposure to social defeat stress. The intact n-3 fatty acid deficient mice showed a decrease in paw threshold values. On the other hand, paw withdrawal thresholds of defeated but not non-stressed, n-3 fatty acid deficient mice continued until day 49 after paw surgery. We evaluated changes in phosphatidylcholine composition in the brains of repeat stress-evoked chronic pain model mice which were not on n-3 fatty acid deficiency diets On day 7 after paw surgery, phosphatidylcholines with DHA and other long-chain fatty acids were found to have decreased in the brains of stressed mice. Moreover, stress-induced persistent mechanical allodynia was improved by oral DHA supplementation. These results indicated that chronic stress may directly affect brain lipid composition; the related changes could be involved in chronic pain development. Our findings suggested that n-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, are useful as a potential therapeutic target for stress-evoked chronic pain.