Lysophospholipids (LPLs) are known to have potentially important roles in the initiation and maintenance of neuropathic pain in animal models. This study investigated the association between the clinical severity of lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of LPLs, using human samples. We prospectively identified twenty-eight patients with LSS and fifteen controls with idiopathic scoliosis or bladder cancer without neurological symptoms. We quantified LPLs from CSF using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. We assessed clinical outcome measures of LSS (Neuropathic Pain Symptom Inventory (NPSI) and Zurich Claudication Questionnaire (ZCQ)) and categorized patients into two groups according to their severity. Five species of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), nine species of lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC), and one species of lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI) were detected. The CSF levels of all species of LPLs were significantly higher in LSS patients than controls. Patients in the severe NPSI group had significantly higher LPL levels (three species of LPA and nine species of LPC) than the mild group. Patients in the severe ZCQ group also had significantly higher LPL levels (four species of LPA and nine species of LPC). This investigation demonstrates a positive correlation between the CSF levels of LPLs and the clinical severity of LSS. LPLs are potential biomarkers for evaluating the severity of LSS.
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