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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2014, Article ID 485927, 9 pages
Research Article

Puerarin Alleviates Neuropathic Pain by Inhibiting Neuroinflammation in Spinal Cord

1Xiamen Diabetes Institute, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University, 55 Zhenhai Road, Xiamen 361003, China
2Huazhong University of Science & Technology, China
3Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, Fujian Medical University, China
4Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University, China
5Central Laboratory, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University, China

Received 17 February 2014; Revised 9 June 2014; Accepted 10 June 2014; Published 24 June 2014

Academic Editor: Bing Du

Copyright © 2014 Ming Liu 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 responds poorly to drug treatments, and partial relief is achieved in only about half of the patients. Puerarin, the main constituent of Puerariae Lobatae Radix, has been used extensively in China to treat hypertension and tumor. The current study examined the effects of puerarin on neuropathic pain using two most commonly used animal models: chronic constriction injury (CCI) and diabetic neuropathy. We found that consecutive intrathecal administration of puerarin (4–100 nM) for 7 days inhibited the mechanical and thermal nociceptive response induced by CCI and diabetes without interfering with the normal pain response. Meanwhile, in both models puerarin inhibited the activation of microglia and astroglia in the spinal dorsal horn. Puerarin also reduced the upregulated levels of nuclear factor- B (NF- B) and other proinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6, IL-1 , and TNF- , in the spinal cord. In summary, puerarin alleviated CCI- and diabetes-induced neuropathic pain, and its effectiveness might be due to the inhibition of neuroinflammation in the spinal cord. The anti-inflammation effect of puerarin might be related to the suppression of spinal NF- B activation and/or cytokines upregulation. We conclude that puerarin has a significant effect on alleviating neuropathic pain and thus may serve as a therapeutic approach for neuropathic pain.