Lipid mediators regulating pain sensitivity

T. Philip Malan, Frank Porreca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The papers in this symposium demonstrate that lipid molecules are ubiquitous messengers that participate in intracellular signaling, function in intercellular communication, and serve as neurotransmitters. This review examines the contribution of lipid messengers in regulating a specific physiological function, the transmission of noxious sensory information (pain) in the nervous system. Lipid molecules play major roles in the modulation of pain sensitivity. Six types of lipid molecules (prostanoids, phosphatidyl inositol bisphosphate, ceramide, lipoxygenase metabolites of arachidonic acid, fatty acyl dopamines, and acylethanolamides) have been shown to modulate systems important in the regulation of pain responses. These molecules exert their actions by interacting with varied receptor systems. Evidence for their participation in the regulation of pain responses comes from in vitro demonstrations of their interactions with signaling systems known to be important in the regulation of pain sensitivity and, in some cases, from demonstration of their ability to modulate pain sensitivity after in vivo administration. One of these classes of lipid mediators, the acylethanolamides, inhibits pain responses, while the others appear to enhance pain sensitivity. Given the rapid growth in our understanding of lipidomics, evident in the papers of this issue, it is virtually certain that additional lipid mediators will be identified as being central to the regulation of pain responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalProstaglandins and Other Lipid Mediators
Issue number1-4 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Lipidomics
  • Mediators
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cell Biology


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