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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 185167, 13 pages
Research Article

The Inhibition of Spinal Astrocytic JAK2-STAT3 Pathway Activation Correlates with the Analgesic Effects of Triptolide in the Rat Neuropathic Pain Model

1Department of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology and K. K. Leung Brain Research Centre, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an 710032, China
2Department of Anesthesiology, School of Stomatology, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an 710032, China
3Department of Neurosurgery, Tangdu Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an 710038, China

Received 19 August 2012; Accepted 16 November 2012

Academic Editor: Mei Tian

Copyright © 2012 Jun Tang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neuropathic pain (NP) is an intractable clinical problem without satisfactory treatments. However, certain natural products have been revealed as effective therapeutic agents for the management of pain states. In this study, we used the spinal nerve ligation (SNL) pain model to investigate the antinociceptive effect of triptolide (T10), a major active component of the traditional Chinese herb Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F. Intrathecal T10 inhibited the mechanical nociceptive response induced by SNL without interfering with motor performance. Additionally, the anti-nociceptive effect of T10 was associated with the inhibition of the activation of spinal astrocytes. Furthermore, intrathecal administration of T10 attenuated SNL-induced janus kinase (JAK) signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) signalling pathway activation and inhibited the upregulation of proinflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-6, interleukin-1 beta, and tumour necrosis factor-α, in dorsal horn astrocytes. Moreover, NR2B-containing spinal N-methyl D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) was subsequently inhibited. Above all, T10 can alleviate SNL-induced NP via inhibiting the neuroinflammation in the spinal dorsal horn. The anti-inflammation effect of T10 may be related with the suppression of spinal astrocytic JAK-STAT3 activation. Our results suggest that T10 may be a promising drug for the treatment of NP.