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Papers: 13 Jan 2024 - 19 Jan 2024

2024 Jan 11



Duloxetine improves chronic orofacial pain and comorbid depressive symptoms in association with reduction of serotonin transporter protein through upregulation of ubiquitinated serotonin transporter protein.


Nakamura M, Yoshimi A, Tokura T, Kimura H, Kishi S, Miyauchi T, Iwamoto K, Ito M, Sato-Boku A, Mouri A, Nabeshima T, Ozaki N, Noda Y


Chronic orofacial pain (COP) is relieved by duloxetine (DLX) and frequently causes depressive symptoms. The aim of this study was to confirm effects of DLX on pain and depressive symptoms, and to associate with their effectiveness in platelet serotonin transporter (SERT) expression, which is a target molecule of DLX and plasma serotonin concentration in COP patients with depressive symptoms. We assessed for the severity of pain and depressive symptoms using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS), respectively. Chronic orofacial pain patients were classified into 2 groups based on their HDRS before DLX-treatment: COP patients with (COP-D) and without (COP-ND) depressive symptoms. We found that the VAS and HDRS scores of both groups were significantly decreased after DLX treatment compared with those before DLX treatment. Upregulation of total SERT and downregulation of ubiquitinated SERT were observed before DLX treatment in both groups compared with healthy controls. After DLX treatment, there were no differences in total SERT of both groups and in ubiquitinated SERT of COP-D patients compared with healthy controls; whereas, ubiquitinated SERT of COP-ND patients remained downregulated. There were positive correlations between changes of serotonin concentrations and of VAS or HDRS scores in only COP-D patients. Our findings indicate that DLX improves not only pain but also comorbid depressive symptoms of COP-D patients. Duloxetine also reduces platelet SERT through upregulation of ubiquitinated SERT. As the result, decrease of plasma serotonin concentrations may be related to the efficacy of DLX in relieving pain and depression in COP patients.