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Papers of the Week

2022 Oct 01

Behav Pharmacol



Astaxanthin ameliorates serum level and spinal expression of macrophage migration inhibitory factor following spinal cord injury.


Fakhri S, Abbaszadeh F, Dargahi L, Pouriran R, Jorjani M
Behav Pharmacol. 2022 Oct 01; 33(7):505-512.
PMID: 36148838.


Astaxanthin (AST) is a lipid-soluble carotenoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Previous reports demonstrated the promising effects of AST on spinal cord injury (SCI)-induced inflammation and sensory-motor dysfunction. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), as a cytokine, plays a critical role in the inflammatory phase of SCI. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of AST on post-SCI levels of MIF in serum and spinal cord. The possible correlation between MIF and mechanical pain threshold was also assessed. Adult male rats were subjected to a severe compression spinal injury and 30 min later were treated with AST (Intrathecal, 2 nmol) or vehicle. Neuropathic pain was assessed by von Frey filaments before the surgery, and then on days 7, 14, 21, and 28 post-SCI. Western blot and ELISA were used to measure the serum level and spinal expression of MIF following SCI in the same time points. AST treatment significantly attenuated the SCI-induced dysregulations in the serum levels and tissue expression of MIF. A negative correlation was observed between mechanical pain threshold and serum MIF level (r = -0.5463, P < 0.001), as well as mechanical pain threshold and spinal level of MIF (r = -0.9562; P < 0.001). AST ameliorates SCI-induced sensory dysfunction, probably through inhibiting MIF-regulated inflammatory pathways.