Identification of Novel Biomarkers of Neuropathic Pain
: A Translational Study from Rat to Human

  • Bethan Young

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Neuropathic pain is a common chronic condition which remains poorly understood. Twenty percent of patients receiving treatment continue to experience moderate to severe pain, due to limited diagnostic and symptom management programmes. The development of objective diagnostic strategies and more effective medications requires identification of robust biomarkers of neuropathic pain. To this end, several potential biomarkers of chronic neuropathic pain were identified by assessing gene expression profiles of an animal model of neuropathic pain, and differential gene expression in patients to determine the potential translational mechanisms of neuropathic pain in an animal model to a clinical cohort.

Dorsal horn tissue extracted from a Sprague Dawley rat spinal nerve ligation model (35 days post-surgery, n=8) and sham operated controls (n=8) was used for Affymetrix Rat Transcriptome Array 1.0 to identify differentially expressed genes. Genes with significant expression changes (p The gene expression analysis revealed a subset of significant differentially regulated genes involved in inflammatory processes and apoptosis. This demonstrated cross-species validation of eight genes by assessing their expression in blood samples from neuropathic pain patients. These include A3GALT2, CASP1, CASP4, CASP5, CCR5, FPR2, SH3BGRL3, and TMEM88. Molecules which demonstrate an active role in human neuropathic pain have the potential to be developed into a biological measure for objective diagnostic tests, or as novel drug targets for improved pain management. Such developments could help to relieve the social and economic burden of neuropathic pain by restoring patient health-related quality of life.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorPatrick McHugh (Co-Supervisor)

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