Astaxanthin attenuates neuroinflammation contributed to the neuropathic pain and motor dysfunction following compression spinal cord injury.
Brain Res Bull. 2018 Sep 19. Epub 2018 Sep 19. PMID: 30243665
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a debilitating condition in which inflammatory responses in the secondary phase of injury leads to long lasting sensory-motor dysfunction. The medicinal therapy of SCI complications is still a clinical challenge. Understanding the molecular pathways underlying the progress of damage will help to find new therapeutic candidates. Astaxanthin (AST) is a ketocarotenoid which has shown anti-inflammatory effects in models of traumatic brain injury. In the present study, we examined its potential in the elimination of SCI damage through glutamatergic-phospo p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p-p38MAPK) signaling pathway. Inflammatory response, histopathological changes and sensory-motor function were also investigated in a severe compression model of SCI in male rats. The results of acetone drop and inclined plane tests indicated the promising role of AST in improving sensory and motor function of SCI rats. AST decreased the expression of n-methyl-d-aspartate receptor subunit 2B (NR2B) and p-p38MAPK as inflammatory signaling mediators as well as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) as an inflammatory cytokine, following compression SCI. The histopathological study culminated in preserved white mater and motor neurons beyond the injury level in rostral and caudal parts. The results show the potential of AST to inhibit glutamate-initiated signaling pathway and inflammatory reactions in the secondary phase of SCI, and suggest it as a promising candidate to enhance functional recovery after SCI.