Tanshinone IIA attenuates neuropathic pain via inhibiting glial activation and immune response

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Neuropathic pain, characterized by spontaneous pain, hyperalgesia and allodynia, is a devastating neurological disease that seriously affects patients' quality of life. We have previously shown that tanshinone IIA (TIIA), an important lipophilic component of Danshen, had significant anti-nociceptive effect in somatic and visceral pain, it is surprisingly noted that few pharmacological studies have been carried out to explore the possible analgesic action of TIIA on neuropathic pain and the underlying mechanisms. Therefore, in the present study, by using spinal nerve ligation (SNL) pain model, the antinociceptive and antihyperalgesic effects of TIIA on neuropathic pain were evaluated by intraperitoneal administration in rats. The results indicated that TIIA dose-dependently inhibited SNL-induced mechanical hyperalgesia. As revealed by OX42 levels, TIIA effectively repressed the activation of spinal microglial activation in SNL-induced neuropathic pain. Meanwhile, TIIA also decreased the expressions of inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-1β in the spinal cord. Furthermore, TIIA inhibited oxidative stress by significantly rescuing the superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and decreasing the malondialdehyde (MDA). Moreover, TIIA depressed SNL-induced MAPKs activation in spinal cord.


Taken together, our study provides evidence that TIIA inhibited SNL-induced neuropathic pain through depressing microglial activation and immune response by the inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) pathways. Our findings suggest that TIIA might be a promising agent in the treatment of neuropathic pain.

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