Obesity increases nociceptive activation of the trigeminal system
Version of Record online: 16 OCT 2012
© 2012 European Federation of International Association for the Study of Pain Chapters
European Journal of Pain
Volume 17, Issue 5, pages 649–653, May 2013
How to Cite
Rossi, H.L., Luu, A.K.S., DeVilbiss, J.L. and Recober, A. (2013), Obesity increases nociceptive activation of the trigeminal system. European Journal of Pain, 17: 649–653. doi: 10.1002/j.1532-2149.2012.00230.x
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) [K08 – NS066087-01]; the University of Iowa Clinical and Translational Science Award [UL1 RR024979]; and the University of Iowa Pain Research Program Training Grant [T32NS045549]. The funding sources were not involved in study design, data collection/analysis, manuscript preparation or publication decision.
Conflicts of interest
- Issue online: 25 MAR 2013
- Version of Record online: 16 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 SEP 2012
- National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke). Grant Number: K08 – NS066087-01
- University of Iowa Clinical and Translational Science Award. Grant Number: UL1 RR024979
- University of Iowa Pain Research Program Training Grant. Grant Number: T32NS045549
Obesity is a risk factor associated with several pain syndromes. However, the mechanisms underlying the association between obesity and pain are not known. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that obesity enhances neuronal responses to nociceptive stimulation within the trigeminal nucleus caudalis (TNC).
Male and female C57BL/6J mice were fed a high-fat or regular diet from the time of weaning until 20 weeks of age. We then quantified neuronal activation by measuring Fos immunoreactivity within the TNC in response to a facial injection of a low dose of capsaicin (1 μg/10 μL).
We found that 0.01% capsaicin did not significantly increase Fos immunoreactivity in control mice fed a regular diet. In contrast, this low dose of capsaicin caused a 3.3-fold increase in Fos in the TNC in obese mice (p < 0.001).
These results support the hypothesis that diet-induced obesity in mice enhances nociceptive processing within the TNC. Diet-induced obesity may be a useful model for mechanistic studies. Future studies will improve our understanding of how obesity may contribute to trigeminal pain by sensitizing the trigeminal nociceptive system.