Researchers at McGill University in Canada have discovered a connection between peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) and mitochondrial dysfunction. The findings, entitled, “Mitochondrial and bioenergetics dysfunction in trauma-induced painful peripheral neuropathy” were published in the September issue of Molecular Pain.
Peripheral neuropathy causes pain, numbness, weakness, and loss of sensation in the extremities of the body. The nerves affected by peripheral neuropathy send information from your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) to the rest of your body. Damage to these nerves can occur from diabetes, chemotherapy, HIV, and trauma.
Mitochondria dysfunction can impair cellular energy metabolism and affect nerve cells which potentially leads to cell death and neurodegeneration. The lack of energy can trigger the spontaneous activity of sensory nerve cells resulting in neuropathic pain.
In this study, researchers demonstrated that trauma-induced peripheral neuropathy causes a persistent dysfunction of the mitochondria and suggest that therapeutic agents that seek to normalize mitochondrial dysfunction could benefit pain treatment.