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Papers of the Week

January 27, 2023

J Pain


Identification of potential visceral pain biomarkers in colon exudates from mice with experimental colitis: an exploratory in vitro study: Pain biomarkers in experimental colitis model.


Chronic visceral pain (CVP) is extremely difficult to diagnose, and available analgesic treatment options are quite limited. Identifying the proteins secreted from the colonic nociceptors, or their neighbor cells within the tube walls, in the context of disorders that course with visceral pain, might be useful to decipher the mechanism involved in the establishment of CVP. Addressing this question in human with gastrointestinal disorders entails multiple difficulties, as there is not a clear classification of disease severity, and colonic secretion is not easy to manage. We propose using of a murine model of colitis to identify new algesic molecules and pathways that could be explored as pain biomarkers or analgesia targets. Descending colons from naïve and colitis mice with visceral hyperalgesia were excised and maintained ex vivo. The proteins secreted in the perfusion fluid before and during acute noxious distension were evaluated using high-resolution mass spectrometry (MS). Haptoglobin (Hp), PZD and LIM domain protein 3 (Pdlim3), NADP-dependent malic enzyme (Me1), and Apolipoprotein A-I (Apoa1) were increased during visceral insult, whilst Triosephosphate isomerase (Tpi1), Glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (Gpi1), Alpha-enolase (Eno1), and Isoform 2 of Tropomyosin alpha-1 chain (Tpm1) were decreased. Most identified proteins have been described in the context of different chronic pain conditions and, according to gene ontology analysis, they are also involved in diverse biological processes of relevance. Thus, animal models that mimic human conditions in combination with unbiased omics approaches will ultimately help to identify new pathophysiological mechanisms underlying pain that might be useful in diagnosing and treating pain. Perspective Our study utilizes an unbiased proteomic approach to determine, first, the clinical relevance of a murine model of colitis and, second, to identify novel molecules/pathways involved in nociception that would be potential biomarkers or targets for chronic visceral pain.