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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Jun 2024 - 14 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 08

Biomed Pharmacother



Astaxanthin alleviates fibromyalgia pain and depression via NLRP3 inflammasome inhibition.


Zhao L, Tao X, Wang K, Song Y, Zhang B, Yang L, Wang Z


Fibromyalgia is characterised by widespread chronic pain and is often accompanied by comorbidities such as sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression. Because it is often accompanied by many adverse symptoms and lack of effective treatment, it is important to search for the pathogenesis and treatment of fibromyalgia. Astaxanthin, a carotenoid pigment known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, has demonstrated effective analgesic effects in neuropathic pain. However, its impact on fibromyalgia remains unclear. Therefore, in this study, we constructed a mouse model of fibromyalgia and investigated the effect of astaxanthin on chronic pain and associated symptoms through multiple intragastrical injections. We conducted behavioural assessments to detect pain and depression-like states in mice, recorded electroencephalograms to monitor sleep stages, examined c-Fos activation in the anterior cingulate cortex, measured activation of spinal glial cells, and assessed levels of inflammatory factors in the brain and spinal cord, including interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and tumour necrosis factor- α(TNF-α).Additionally, we analysed the expression levels of IL-6, IL-10, NOD-like receptor thermal protein domain associated protein 3 (NLRP3), Apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing CARD, and Caspase-1 proteins. The findings revealed that astaxanthin significantly ameliorated mechanical and thermal pain in mice with fibromyalgia and mitigated sleep disorders and depressive-like symptoms induced by pain. A potential mechanism underlying these effects is the anti-inflammatory action of astaxanthin, likely mediated through the inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome, which could be one of the pathways through which astaxanthin alleviates fibromyalgia. In conclusion, our study suggests that astaxanthin holds promise as a potential analgesic medication for managing fibromyalgia and its associated symptoms.