Anti-allodynic action of the tormentic acid, a triterpene isolated from plant, against neuropathic and inflammatory persistent pain in mice

Eur J Pharmacol. 2002 Oct 25;453(2-3):203-8. doi: 10.1016/s0014-2999(02)02428-7.


Experiments were designed to address whether the pentacyclic triterpene tormentic acid isolated from the stem bark of the plant Vochysia divergens exerts oral anti-allodynic properties in two models of chronic pain in mice: neuropathic pain caused by partial ligation of the sciatic nerve and inflammatory pain produced by intraplantar injection of Complete Freund's Adjuvant. Oral administration of tormentic acid (30 mg/kg) twice a day for several consecutive days produced time-dependent and pronounced anti-allodynia effect in both ispsilateral and contralateral paws after plantar injection of Complete Freund's Adjuvant. The inhibition observed was 82+/-9% and 100+/-11%, respectively. Interestingly, tormentic acid did not inhibit paw oedema formation following Complete Freund's Adjuvant plantar injection. Tormentic acid (30 mg/kg, p.o.) and gabapentin (70 mg/kg, p.o.), given twice a day, inhibited markedly the neuropathic allodynia induced by partial ligation of the sciatic nerve, with inhibition of 91+/-19% and 71+/-16%, respectively. The anti-allodynic action of tormentic acid was not associated with impairment of the motor activity of the animals. Together, the present results indicate that tormentic acid or its derivatives might be of potential interest in the development of new clinically relevant drugs for the management of persistent neuropathic and inflammatory allodynia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / therapeutic use
  • Amines*
  • Analgesics / isolation & purification
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids*
  • Female
  • Freund's Adjuvant
  • Gabapentin
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Ligation
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / complications*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Bark / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Sciatic Nerve
  • Time Factors
  • Touch
  • Triterpenes / isolation & purification
  • Triterpenes / therapeutic use*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid*


  • Acetates
  • Amines
  • Analgesics
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids
  • Plant Extracts
  • Triterpenes
  • euscaphic acid
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Gabapentin
  • Freund's Adjuvant