Exercise Combined With Ultrasound Attenuates Neuropathic Pain in Rats Associated With Downregulation of IL-6 and TNF-α, but With Upregulation of IL-10

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BACKGROUND:Although there are several evidences that suggest efficacies of therapeutic ultrasound (TU) or treadmill exercise (TE) to alleviate nerve injury—associated pain, molecular mechanisms are less clear. We aimed to investigate the impact of TU and/or TE on neuropathic pain induced by chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve and their roles of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines.METHODS:Rats were randomly divided into (n = 10 per group) sham operation (sham), CCI procedure followed by false application of TU (CCI + TU0), CCI procedure followed by false application of TU and TE (CCI + TU0 + TE), CCI, and CCI procedure followed by TU alone (CCI + TU), TE alone (CCI + TE), or both TU and TE (CCI + TU + TE) groups. TU and TE were administered daily, starting on postoperative day 8 (POD 8) for 3 weeks. Mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-10 (IL-10), and IL-6 in the sciatic nerve were assessed on PODs 14 and 28. Data were analyzed by 1-way, 2-way, or 3-way analysis of variance of repeated measures or 1-way analysis of variance.RESULTS:After the interventions, there was statistical significance (all P ≤ .0001) between the groups for all outcome parameters, all in favor of the experimental group: 4.2 for mean mechanical withdrawal thresholds (95% confidence interval, 1.8–7.6) and 4.8 for mean thermal withdrawal latencies (95% confidence interval, 2.2–8.1). TU and/or TE provoked an increase in mechanical withdrawal thresholds and thermal withdrawal latencies in CCI rats. TU + TE was more effective to reverse pain hypersensitivity than having each treatment alone. On PODs 14 and 28, the CCI rats exhibited an upregulation of sciatic TNF-α and IL-6 expression, whereas TU or TE alone or TU + TE combination prevented the upregulation. TU and/or TE also showed the upregulation of less IL-10 expression in the sciatic nerve.CONCLUSIONS:We found that TU + TE is better than TU or TE alone for treating neuropathic pain. TU and/or TE for pain management may be straightly associated with less TNF-α and IL-6 expression and more IL-10 expression.

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