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Papers: 16 Mar 2024 - 22 Mar 2024

2024 Mar 13

Eur J Pharmacol


Curcumin analogue NL04 inhibits spinal cord central sensitization in rats with bone cancer pain by inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasome activation and reducing IL-1β production.


Chen L, Hua B, He Q, Han Z, Wang Y, Chen Y, Ni H, Zhu Z, Xu L, Yao M, Ni C


The management and therapy of bone cancer pain (BCP) remain formidable clinical challenges. Curcumin and its analogues have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. In the present study, we investigated the efficacy of curcumin analogue NL04 (NL04) in modulating inflammation in spinal dorsal horn (SDH), thereby exploring its potential to reduce central sensitization of BCP in a rat model. Differing doses of NL04 and curcumin were administered intrathecally either once (on day 12 of BCP) or over seven consecutive days (from day 6-12 of BCP). Results indicated that the ED50 for NL04 and curcumin ameliorating BCP-induced mechanical hyperalgesia is 49.08 μg/kg and 489.6 μg/kg, respectively. The analgesic effects at various doses of NL04 lasted between 4 and 8 h, with sustained administration over a week maintaining pain relief for 1-4 days, while also ameliorating locomotor gait via gait analysis and reducing depressive and anxiety-like behaviors via open-field and light-dark transition tests. The analgesic effects at various doses of curcumin lasted 4 h, with sustained administration over a week maintaining pain relief for 0-2 days. ELISA, Western blotting, qPCR, and immunofluorescence assays substantiated that intrathecal administration of NL04 on days 6-12 of BCP dose-dependently lowered spinal IL-1β and IL-18 levels and significantly reduced the expression of IKKβ genes and proteins, as well as the downstream cleavage of the trans-Golgi network (TGN). Whole-cell patch-clamp results demonstrated that NL04 inhibits potassium ion efflux in rat primary spinal neurons. Thus, NL04 exhibits significant analgesic effects in a BCP rat model by downregulating IKKβ expression and inhibiting neuronal potassium ion efflux, which, in turn, suppresses the activation of NLRP3 inflammasomes and reduces IL-1β production, potentially ameliorating pain management in BCP.