Beneficial effect of mirtazapine on diabetes-induced hyperalgesia: involvement of TRPV1 and ASIC1 channels in the spinal cord and dorsal root ganglion

Ezgi Bektur, Erhan Şahin, Emre Ceyhan, Dilek Burukoglu Donmez, Mediha Canbek, Cengiz Baycu, Ozgur Devrim Can
Neurological Research 2019 March 1, : 1-10

OBJECTIVES: Neuropathic pain reduces the life qualities of patients with Diabetes mellitus. Clinical guidelines recommend relief in diabetic neuropathic pain through the use of some antidepressants, anticonvulsants, opioids as well as capsaicin cream or lidocaine patches. However, since the majority of patients do not or partially respond to current treatments, there is a growing necessity for new drugs increasing the pain relief in patients with diabetes. Therefore, based on the therapeutic potential of antidepressants on neuropathic pain, we investigated the promising antihyperalgesic effect of mirtazapine (MRT) in painful diabetic neuropathy.

METHODS: Experimental diabetes was induced in rats by single intraperitoneal injection of 55 mg/kg dose of streptozocin (STZ). After 4 weeks of injection of STZ, MRT was administrated for 14 days at 40 mg/kg dose. Randall-Selitto and Hargreaves tests were applied for paw-withdrawal threshold and paw-withdrawal latency measurement. TRPV1 and ASIC1 expressions measured by Western blot in dorsal root ganglion and spinal cord.

RESULTS: Administration of MRT significantly improved both of the decreased paw-withdrawal threshold and shortened the paw-withdrawal latency of diabetic rats, respectively. Besides, increased levels of TRPV1 and ASIC1 channels in dorsal root ganglion and spinal cord of diabetic rats, evaluated by Western blot method, were decreased following the MRT treatment.

DISCUSSION: These data show, for the first time, that MRT has beneficial effects against diabetes-induced hyperalgesia, and that suppressive effect of this drug on TRPV1 and ASIC1 levels, which are increased in diabetic rats, may be some of the pharmacological mechanisms underlying the exhibited antihyperalgesic effect of MRT.

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