Background: Sciatic nerve injury develops from a variety of pathological causes, including traumatic injury and neuroinflammatory disorders, which are accompanied by pathological changes that have a critical impact on neuropathic pain and locomotor activity. Extracts of Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans (SSM) are used in traditional medicine for the treatment of a wide range of neuropathic diseases, including lower back pain, peripheral neuropathy, and sciatic nerve injury. Although SSM shows anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anticonvulsant activities, its diverse mechanisms of action remain unclear. Thus, the present study examined the effects of SSM in vitro and in vivo.
Methods: To estimate the anti-inflammatory effects of SSM, inflammatory conditions were induced using lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in RAW 264.7 cells, and inflammatory-related factors were evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and western blotting analyses. Sciatic nerve crush injury (SNCI) was induced in rats using a surgical clip instrument. The effects of SSM in the SNCI model were evaluated in behavioral tests by calculating the sciatic functional index (SFI) and measuring thermal hyperalgesia sensitivity and by monitoring inflammatory factors expression in western blotting analyses.
Results: We observed the anti-inflammatory effects of SSM treatment both in vitro and in vivo. The PGE2 and NO production were suppressed by SSM. Protein analyses indicated that expression of NF-κB and degradation of IκBα were suppressed by SSM treatment. In addition, the levels of iNOS, TNF-α, IL-6, and COX-2 expression were reduced by SSM treatment in RAW 264.7 cells and in the SNCI-induced animals. In behavioral studies, SSM treatment enhanced the SFI and improved the thermal sensitivity test results.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that SSM suppresses the production of inflammatory factors via the NF-κB pathway and accelerates the morphological and functional recovery of the peripheral nervous system. Hence, SSM may be a useful therapeutic candidate for treatment of neuropathic pain diseases.