This website uses cookies to understand how you use the website and to improve your experience. By continuing to use the website, you accept the University of New England’s use of cookies and similar technologies. To learn more about our use of cookies and how to manage your browser cookie settings, please review our Privacy Notice.


Ling Cao



Beijing Medical University



SUNY Albany


Post-Doctoral Training


Dartmouth College


New Hampshire

Post-Doctoral Training


University of Rochester


New York





Current Research

1. Role of microglial CD137L in peripheral nerve injry-induced neuropathic pain and nerve regeneration

2. Neuroimmune mechanisms in murine AIDS viral infection induced peripheral neuropathy - roles of CGRP on  glial responses upon infection.

3. Effects of morphine on murine AIDS -induced neurocognitive disorders.

4. Roles of CD4 T cells, and microglial CD40 in spinal nerve L5 transection-induced neuropathic pain

5. Clinical and education research with Mercy Pain Center on various chronic pain management related topics.

Research Interests

1. Neuroimmune mechanisms in nerve injury induced neuropathic pain and nerve regeneration

2. Neuroimmune mechanisms in HIV-associated peripheral neuropathy

3. Neuroimmune mechanisms in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HANDs)



Selected Publications

Please view the complete list of our publications through the following link:

  • L. Cao, L. Fei, T. T. Chang, and J. A. DeLeo. 2007.  Further induction of IL-1beta by IL-4 in LPS-treated mixed glial cultures.  Journal of Neurochemistry 102(2), 408-419.
  • C. A. Hudson, G. P. Christophi, L. Cao, R. C. Gruber and P. T. Massa. 2007.  Regulation of avoidant behaviors and pain by the anti-inflammatory tyrosine phosphatase SHP-1.  Neuron Glia Biology 2 (4), 235-246.
  • I. D. Meng and L. Cao. 2007.  From migraine to chronic daily headache: the biological basis of headache transformation (Invited review).  Headache 47(8), 1251-1258.
  • L. Cao and J. A. DeLeo. 2008.  CNS infiltrating CD4+ T lymphocytes contribute to murine spinal nerve transection-induced neuropathic pain. European Journal of Immunology 38, 448-458 (featured “In This Issue”). (PMCID: PMC2963094)
  • L. Cao,  F.Y. Tanga and J. A. DeLeo. 2009.  The contributing role of CD14 in Toll-Like receptor 4 dependent neuropathic pain.  Neuroscience 158(2), 896-903. (PMCID: PMC2701510)
  • L. Cao, C. D. Palmer, J. T. Malon and J. A. DeLeo.  2009.  Critical role of microglial CD40 in the maintenance of mechanical hypersensitivityin a murine model of neuropathic pain.  European Journal of Immunology 39, 3562-3569. (PMCID: PMC2810130)
  • J. T. Malon, S. Maddula, H. Bell and L. Cao.  2012.  Involvement of calcitonin gene-related peptide and CCL2 production in CD40-mediated behavioral hypersensitivity in a model of neuropathic pain.  Neuron Glia Biology (Mar 1:1-12; published online).(PMCID: PMC4110723)
  • L. Cao, M. B. Butler, L. Tan and K. S. Draleau.  2012.  A murine immunodeficiency virus induced peripheral neuropathy and associated cytokine responses.  Journal of Immunology 189(7), 3724-33. (PMCID: PMC3448875).
  • L. Cao, H. Beaulac, and A. Eurich.  2012.  Differential lumbar spinal cord responses among wild type, CD4 knockout, and CD40 knockout mice in spinal nerve L5 transection-induced neuropathic pain. Molecular pain 8(1), 88. (PMCID: PMC3545955)
  • L. Cao and M. B. Butler.  2013.  Involvement of microglial CD40 in murine retrovirus-induced peripheral neuropathy.  Journal of Neuroimmunology 261, 37-43. (PMCID: PMC3729793)
  • K. S. Draleau, S. Maddula, A. Slaiby, N. Nutile-McMenemy, J. A. DeLeo, and L. Cao.  2014.  Phenotypic identification of spinal cord-infiltrating CD4+ T lymphocytes in a murine model of neuropathic pain.  Journal of Pain and Relief S3:003. Doi: 10.4172/2167-0846.S3-003 (PMCID: PMC4136538)
  • V. D. McLane, L. Cao, and C. L. Willis.  2014.  Morphine increases hippocampal viral load and suppresses frontal lobe cytokine expression in the LP-BM5 AIDS model.  Journal of Neuroimmunology 269(1), 44-51. (PMCID:PMC4026271)
  • J. Malon, E. Grlickova-Duzevik, J. Vaughn, T. R. Vunk, and L. Cao.  2015.  Microglial Content-Dependent Inhibitory Effects of Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) on Murine Retroviral Infection of Glial Cells.  Journal of Neuroimmunology 279(1), 64-70. (PMCID: PMC4325278)
  • J. Malon and L. Cao.  2016.  Calcitonin gene-related peptide contributes to peripheral nerve injury-induced mechanical hypersensitivity through CCL5 and p38 pathways.  Journal of Neuroimmunology 297,68-75. (PMCID: PMC4940993)
  • J. Malon and L. Cao.  2016.  Preparation of primary mixed glial cultures from adult mouse spinal cord tissue.  Journal of Visulized Experiments. Nov 19;(117). doi: 10.3791/54801. (PMCID: PMC5153361)


If you are interested in a research opportunity in our laboratory, please fill out the application form and submit it via email to Dr. Ling Cao.

Funded Grants

1. K01 from NIH/NIDA, Cao (PI), 04/01/08 - 03/31/12. Role of infiltrating CD4+ T lymphocytes in neuropathic pain.
2. R21 from NIH/NINDS, Cao (PI), 9/25/2009 - 7/31/2012. Murine AIDS (LP-BM5) viral infection induced peripheral neuropathy - Role of CNS microglia.
3. P20RR028273 from NIH/NIGMS, Meng (PD), 08/15/12 - 05/31/17. Interdisciplinary center of excellence for the study of pain and sensory function. Cao (PI for Sub-project 1): Interaction between calcitonin gene-related peptide and CD40 on CNS glial cells in neuropathic pain.

4. R01 from NIH/NINDS, Cao (PI), 7/1/2016 - 4/30/2021.  Role of CD137L in peripheral nerve injury induced neuropathic pain.

New: Research opportunity for Graduate student (Master or PhD) is currently available in Dr. Cao's lab. Interested individual should contact Dr. Cao directly via Email

Research Topics

Ling Cao

Ling Cao


M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Immunology

Biddeford Campus

Pickus Center

(207) 602-2213

On Campus

Eligible for Student Opportunities