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Papers of the Week

2020 Apr

J Pharmacol Sci



Carvacrol inhibits the neuronal voltage-gated sodium channels Na1.2, Na1.6, Na1.3, Na1.7, and Na1.8 expressed in Xenopus oocytes with different potencies.


Horishita T, Ogata Y, Horishita R, Fukui R, Moriwaki K, Ueno S, Yanagihara N, Uezono Y, Sudo Y, Minami K
J Pharmacol Sci. 2020 Apr; 142(4):140-147.
PMID: 31982332.


Carvacrol is the predominant monoterpene in essential oils from many aromatic plants. Several animal studies showing analgesic effects of carvacrol indicate potential of carvacrol as a new medication for patients with refractory pain. Voltage-gated sodium channels (Na) are thought to have crucial roles in the development of inflammatory and neuropathic pain, but there is limited information about whether the analgesic mechanism of carvacrol involves Na. We used whole-cell, two-electrode, voltage-clamp techniques to examine the effects of carvacrol on sodium currents in Xenopus oocytes expressing α subunits of Na1.2, Na1.3, Na1.6, Na1.7, and Na1.8. Carvacrol dose-dependently suppressed sodium currents at a holding potential that induced half-maximal current. The half-maximal inhibitory concentration values for Na1.2, Na1.3, Na1.6, Na1.7, and Na1.8 were 233, 526, 215, 367, and 824 μmol/L, respectively, indicating that carvacrol had more potent inhibitory effects towards Na1.2 and Na1.6 than Na1.3, Na1.7, and Na1.8. Gating analysis showed a depolarizing shift of the activation curve and a hyperpolarizing shift of the inactivation curve in all five α subunits following carvacrol treatment. Furthermore, carvacrol exhibits a use-dependent block for all five α Na subunits. These findings provide a better understanding of the mechanisms associated with the analgesic effect of carvacrol.