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Papers of the Week

January 27, 2023

Phytother Res


Echinacea purpurea against neuropathic pain: Alkamides versus polyphenols efficacy.


Micheli L, Maggini V, Ciampi C, Gallo E, Bogani P, Fani R, Pistelli L, Ghelardini C, Di Cesare Mannelli L, De Leo M, Firenzuoli F
Phytother Res. 2022 Dec 28.
PMID: 36578266.


Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy represents the main dose-limiting toxicity of several anticancer drugs, such as oxaliplatin, leading to chronic pain and an impairment of the quality of life. Echinacea purpurea n-hexane extract (EP -R ; rich in alkamides) and butanolic extract (EP -R ; rich in polyphenols) have been characterized and tested in an in vivo model of oxaliplatin-induced neuropathic pain, addressing the endocannabinoid system with alkamides and counteracting the redox imbalance with polyphenols. Thermal hypersensitivity was evaluated by the Cold Plate test. EP -R showed a dose-dependent anti-hyperalgesic profile. The extract was more effective than its main constituent, dodeca-2 E,4 E,8Z,10 E/Z-tetraenoic acid isobutylamide (18 mg kg , twofold to equimolar EP -R 30 mg kg ), suggesting a synergy with other extract constituents. Administration of cannabinoid type 2 (CB2) receptor-selective antagonist completely blocked the anti-allodynic effect of EP -R , differently from the antagonism of CB1 receptors. EP -R (30 mg kg ) exhibited anti-neuropathic properties too. The effect was mainly exerted by chicoric acid, which administered alone (123 μg kg , equimolar to EP -R 30 mg kg ) completely reverted oxaliplatin-induced allodynia. A synergy between different polyphenols in the extract had not been highlighted. Echinacea extracts have therapeutic potential in the treatment of neuropathic pain, through both alkamides CB2-selective activity and polyphenols protective properties.