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Papers of the Week

Papers: 18 May 2024 - 24 May 2024

2024 May 21

Biomed Pharmacother



Lactobacillus Plantarum intake mitigates neuropathic pain behavior via enhancing macrophage M2 polarization in a rat model of peripheral neuropathy.


Huang CT, Wang LK, Lue JH, Chen SH, Tsai YJ


Pro-inflammatory macrophages (M1-polarized) play a crucial role in neuroinflammation and neuropathic pain following nerve injury. Redirecting macrophage polarization toward anti-inflammatory (M2-polarized) phenotypes offers a promising therapeutic strategy. Recognized for their anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties, probiotics are becoming a focal point of research. This study investigated the effects of Lactobacillus plantarum on macrophage polarization, nerve protection, and neuropathic pain behavior following chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the median nerve. Rats received daily oral doses of L. plantarum for 28 days before and 14 days after CCI. Subsequently, behavioral and electrophysiological assessments were performed. The M1 marker CD86 levels, M2 marker CD206 levels, and concentrations of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines in the injured median nerve were assessed. L. plantarum administration effectively reduced neuropathic pain behavior and the Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio after CCI. Moreover, L. plantarum treatment increased serum short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) levels, preserved myelination of the injured median nerve, and suppressed injury-induced discharges. In CCI rats treated with L. plantarum, there was a reduction in CD86 and pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, accompanied by an increase in CD206 and the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, receptors for anti-inflammatory cytokines were localized on Schwann cells, and their expression was significantly upregulated in the injured nerves of CCI rats receiving L. plantarum. In conclusion, L. plantarum shifts macrophage phenotypes from M1 to M2 by promoting the production of SCFAs and enhancing the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines. Ultimately, this process preserves nerve fiber integrity and impedes the onset of neuropathic pain.