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Papers: 24 Sep 2022 - 30 Sep 2022

2022 Sep 07

Int J Mol Sci



Indications of Peripheral Pain, Dermal Hypersensitivity, and Neurogenic Inflammation in Patients with Lipedema.


Chakraborty A, Crescenzi R, Usman TA, Reyna AJ, Garza ME, Al-Ghadban S, Herbst KL, Donahue PMC, Rutkowski JM
Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Sep 07; 23(18).
PMID: 36142221.


Lipedema is a disease with abnormally increased adipose tissue deposition and distribution. Pain sensations have been described in the clinical evaluation of lipedema, but its etiology remains poorly understood. We hypothesized that pain sensitivity measurements and ex vivo quantitation of neuronal cell body distribution in the skin would be lipedema stage-dependent, and could, thus, serve to objectively characterize neuropathic pain in lipedema. The pain was assessed by questionnaire and peripheral cutaneous mechanical sensitization (von-Frey) in lipedema ( = 27) and control ( = 23) consenting female volunteers. Dermal biopsies from ( = 11) Stages 1-3 lipedema and control ( = 10) participants were characterized for neuronal cell body and nociceptive neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and nerve growth factor (NGF) distribution. Stage 2 or 3 lipedema participants responded positively to von Frey sensitization in the calf and thigh, and Stage 3 participants also responded in the arm. Lipedema abdominal skin displayed reduced Tuj-1+ neuronal cell body density, compared to healthy controls, while CGRP and NGF was significantly elevated in Stage 3 lipedema tissues. Together, dermal neuronal cell body loss is consistent with hyper-sensitization in patients with lipedema. Further study of neuropathic pain in lipedema may elucidate underlying disease mechanisms and inform lipedema clinical management and treatment impact.