The objective of this study was to investigate whether berberine could ameliorate allodynia induced by chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve in rats. After inducement of CCI, significant increases in the number of paw lifts from a cold plate test (cold allodynia) and decreased paw withdrawal threshold in the von Frey hair stimulation test (mechanical allodynia) were observed. However, these cold and mechanical allodynia were markedly alleviated by berberine administration in a dose-dependent manner. Sciatic nerve myeloperoxidase and malondialdehyde activities were also attenuated by berberine administration. Continuous injection for 7 days induced no development of tolerance. The antiallodynic effect of 20 mg/kg berberine was comparable to that of amitriptyline 10 mg/kg. This study demonstrated that berberine could mitigate allodynia induced by CCI, a neuropathic pain model, and it suggested that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties of berberine contributed to the antiallodynic effect in the CCI model.
Keywords: anti-inflammatory agents; antioxidants; berberine; hyperalgesia; neuralgia.