Cauda equina compression (CEC) is a major cause of neurogenic claudication and progresses to neuropathic pain (NP). A lipid mediator, lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), is known to induce NP via the LPA1 receptor. To know a possible mechanism of LPA production in neurogenic claudication, we determined the levels of LPA, lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) and LPA-producing enzyme autotaxin (ATX), in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and spinal cord (SC) using a CEC as a possible model of neurogenic claudication. Using silicon blocks within the lumbar epidural space, we developed a CEC model in rats with motor dysfunction. LPC and LPA levels in the CSF were significantly increased from day 1. Importantly, specific LPA species (16:0, 18:2, 20:4) were upregulated, which have been shown to produce by ATX detected in the CSF, without changes on its level. In SC, the LPC and LPA levels did not change, but mass spectrometry imaging analysis revealed that LPC was present in a region where the silicon blocks were inserted. These results propose a model for LPA production in SC and CSF upon neurogenic claudication that LPC produced locally by tissue damages is converted to LPA by ATX, which then leak out into the CSF.
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