Evaluation of the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities of piperic acid: Involvement of the cholinergic and vanilloid systems

Eur J Pharmacol. 2018 Sep 5:834:54-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2018.07.022. Epub 2018 Jul 19.


Piperin is the active compound of black pepper (Piper nigrum). From the piperine was obtained the molecule of the piperic acid (PAC). The objective of this study was to evaluate the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory of the compound. The antinociceptive effects of PAC were evaluated by abdominal writhing, formalin, capsaicin and tail-flick tests; while the anti-inflammatory effects were evaluated by paw oedema and air pouch tests, and in vitro COX inhibition assay. The possible action mechanism of PAC was evaluated using naloxone, L-NAME, glibenclamide and atropine in tail flick test and by Cholinesterase activity assay and production of TNF-α and IL-1β. PAC significantly reduced the nociceptive effects induced by acetic acid or formalin in mice. PAC also demonstrated an antinociceptive effect in the tail-flick model. The muscarinic receptor antagonist, atropine reduced the antinociceptive effect of PAC in the tail-flick model. PAC was able to inhibit capsaicin-induced nociception, showing involvement of TRPV1. The compound did not alter the motor capacity of the animals, not interfering in the nociceptive response. PAC also showed anti- inflammatory activity by inhibiting the formation of carrageenan-induced paw oedema, leukocyte migration, and cytokine production / release. Atropine reduced the activity of PAC on leukocyte migration, and cytokine production. The compound showed to be able to reduce the cytokine production stimulated by capsaicin. PAC inhibited the COX activity. The results presented suggest that the possible cholinomimetic action and vanilloid agonist of the piperic acid may be responsible by antinociceptive and anti- inflammatory effects; these effects are devoid of toxicity.

Keywords: Cholinergic system; Cytokines; Nociception; Piperic acid; Vanilloid system.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / adverse effects
  • Analgesics / pharmacology*
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Choline / metabolism*
  • Cholinesterases / metabolism
  • Cyclooxygenase 1 / metabolism
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism
  • Edema / drug therapy
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Mice
  • TRPV Cation Channels / metabolism*


  • Analgesics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • Cyclooxygenase 1
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Cholinesterases
  • piperic acid
  • Choline