- •The Total Western Diet (TWD) reduced acute sensitivity to mechanical and thermal stimuli.
- •Exposure to TWD increased fat mass and leptin and inflammatory cytokine levels.
- •TWD prolonged return to baseline sensitivity after complete Freund's adjuvant.
- •TWD is proinflammatory and may lead to susceptibility to chronic pain.
Obesity and chronic pain are often comorbid and their rates are increasing. It is unknown whether increased pain is caused by greater weight or poor diet quality or both. Therefore, we utilized a Total Western Diet (TWD) to investigate the functional and physiologic consequences of nutritionally poor diet in mice. For 13 weeks on the commercially available TWD, based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, thresholds of TWD-fed mice significantly increased in both thermal and mechanical tests. Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging revealed a significant increase in fat mass with a concomitant decrease in lean mass in the TWD-fed mice. In addition, there were significant increases in levels of serum leptin and inflammatory cytokines. After chronic pain induction using complete Freund's adjuvant, hypersensitivity was more pronounced and significantly prolonged in the TWD-fed mice. Therefore, prolonged exposure to poor diet quality resulted in altered acute nociceptive sensitivity, systemic inflammation, and persistent pain after inflammatory pain induction.
These results highlight the negative effects of poor diet quality with respect to recovery from hypersensitivity and susceptibility to chronic pain. A complete understanding of the impact of diet can aid in treatment and recovery dynamics in human clinical patients.
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Published online: October 24, 2015
Accepted: October 12, 2015
Received in revised form: September 21, 2015
Received: August 26, 2015
This work was supported by a University of Alabama at Birmingham College of Arts and Science Interdisciplinary Team Innovation Award received by B.A.G. and R.E.S.
The authors have no conflict of interest involving this work.
© 2016 American Pain Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.