The antiviral alkaloid berberine ameliorates neuropathic pain in rats with peripheral nerve injury.
Acta Neurol Belg. 2018 Aug 30. Epub 2018 Aug 30. PMID: 30168114
Neuropathic pain is a major public health problem. There is a need to develop safer and more effective analgesia compounds with less side effects. Berberine has been used to treat diarrhea and gastroenteritis due to its anti-microbial, anti-motility and anti-secretory properties. Berberine has also been reported to play an analgesic role in some pathological conditions of pain. However, the analgesic roles of berberine in neuropathic pain are still unclear. Therefore, this study aims to explore the analgesic effects of berberine in neuropathic pain. Partial sciatic nerve ligation (pSNL) was performed to create neuropathic pain model. Paw withdrawal responses to mechanical and thermal stimuli were measured using a set of electronic von Frey apparatus and hot plate, respectively. The time that rats spent licking, flinching and lifting its paw during 5 min following capsaicin application was recorded. mRNA and protein expression levels were examined by quantitative RT-PCR and western blot, respectively. Berberine administration (i.p.) increased both mechanical and thermal pain thresholds in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, berberine administration reversed the mRNA and protein expression of TRPV1 in dorsal root ganglion neurons after peripheral nerve injury. In addition, berberine significantly inhibited capsaicin-induced pain behaviors. The amelioration of neuropathic pain by berberine may be associated with the down-regulation of TRPV1in DRG of neuropathic pain rats. This study highlighted the potential of berberine in the treatment of neuropathic pain originated in the peripheral nervous system.