Dr. Michael Burton, Calvin D. Uong, and Melissa E. Lenert found that a type of fatty acid called palmitic acid binds to a particular receptor on nerve cells, a process that results in inflammation and mimics injury to the neurons. [Photo: UTD]
“This study indicates you don’t need obesity to trigger pain; you don’t need diabetes; you don’t need a pathology or injury at all," says UTD researcher Dr. Michael Burton. "Eating a high-fat diet for a short period of time is enough."
The finding could lead to further research on the impact of high-fat diets on chronic pain, a key component of the opioid epidemic—and potentially pharmacological solutions.