Soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibition alleviates neuropathy in Akita (Ins2 Akita) mice
The soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) is a regulatory enzyme responsible for the metabolism of bioactive lipid epoxides of both omega-6 and omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. These natural epoxides mediate cell signaling in several physiological functions including blocking inflammation, high blood pressure and both inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Inhibition of the sEH maintains the level of endogenous bioactive epoxy-fatty acids (EpFA) and allows them to exert their generally beneficial effects. The Akita (Ins2Akita or Ins2C96Y) mice represent a maturity-onset of diabetes of the young (MODY) model in lean, functionally unimpaired animals, with a sexually dimorphic disease phenotype. This allowed for a test of male and female mice in a battery of functional and nociceptive assays to probe the role of sEH in this system. The results demonstrate that inhibiting the sEH is analgesic in diabetic neuropathy and this occurs in a sexually dimorphic manner. Interestingly, sEH activity is also sexually dimorphic in the Akita model, and moreover correlates with disease status particularly in the hearts of male mice. In addition, in vivo levels of oxidized lipid metabolites also correlate with increased sEH expression and the pathogenesis of disease in this model. Thus, sEH is a target to effectively block diabetic neuropathic pain but also demonstrates a potential role in mitigating the progression of this disease.