Dexmedetomidine alleviates inflammation in neuropathic pain by suppressing NLRP3 via Nrf2 activation
- Wenyan Shan
- Xiaoyun Liao
- Yixun Tang
- Jitong Liu
Affiliations: Department of Anesthesiology, Hunan Provincial People's Hospital (The First Affiliated Hospital of Hunan Normal University), Changsha, Hunan 410005, P.R. China
- Published online on: July 22, 2021 https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2021.10479
Copyright: © Shan
et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
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Commons Attribution License.
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The aim of the present study was to investigate the mechanism by which dexmedetomidine (DEX) alleviates neuropathic pain in a chronic constriction injury (CCI) model in rats. A CCI rat model was established through sciatic nerve ligation. CCI rats were treated with DEX, the nuclear factor erythroid 2‑related factor 2 (Nrf2) inhibitor ML385, the NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) antagonist MCC950 and/or the NLRP3 activator nigericin. The mechanical withdrawal threshold (MWT) was measured to assess the pain sensitivity of CCI rats. Hematoxylin and eosin staining and TUNEL staining were used to examine spinal injury and apoptosis, respectively. ELISA was used to quantify the levels of inflammatory factors. The expression levels of Nrf2 and NLRP3 were also examined. The results indicated that a decrease in MWT and increases in spinal cord injury, apoptosis and inflammatory factors were detected in CCI rats compared with control rats. Spinal inflammation was abrogated in DEX‑treated CCI rats. Compared with the model group, an increase in MWT and decreases in spinal cord injury, apoptosis and inflammatory factors were detected in rats treated with MCC950, while the opposite effects were observed in rats treated with nigericin. The opposite effects on these indicators were observed in the DEX + ML385 and MCC950 + ML385 groups compared with the DEX and MCC950 groups, respectively. MWT was increased, while spinal cord injury, apoptosis and inflammation decreased in the nigericin + DEX group compared with the nigericin group. In summary, the results of the present study indicated that DEX reduced neuropathic pain in CCI rats by suppressing NLRP3 through Nrf2 activation.