Alphalipoic Acid Prevents Oxidative Stress and Peripheral Neuropathy in Nab-Paclitaxel-Treated Rats through the Nrf2 Signalling Pathway

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019 Feb 10:2019:3142732. doi: 10.1155/2019/3142732. eCollection 2019.


Peripheral neuropathy is the major dose-limiting side effect of paclitaxel (PTX), affecting both the quality of life and the survival of cancer patients. Nab-paclitaxel (nab-PTX) was developed to provide additional clinical benefits and overcome the safety drawbacks of solvent-based PTX. However, the prevalence of peripheral neuropathy induced by nab-PTX was reported higher than that induced by solvent-based PTX. Upon investigation, oxidative stress plays a major role in the toxicity of nab-PTX. In order to assess if the antioxidant alphalipoic acid (α-LA) could prevent the nab-PTX-induced peripheral neuropathy, Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were treated with three doses of α-LA (15, 30, and 60 mg/kg in normal saline, i.p., q.d. (days 1-30)) and/or nab-PTX (7.4 mg/kg in normal saline, i.v., q.w. (days 8, 15, and 22)). Body weight and peripheral neuropathy were measured and assessed regularly during the study. The assessment of peripheral neuropathy was performed by the von Frey and acetone tests. A tumor xenograft model of pancreatic cancer was used to assess the impact of α-LA on the antitumor effect of nab-PTX. Results showed that α-LA significantly ameliorated the peripheral neuropathy induced by nab-PTX (p < 0.05) without promoting tumor growth or reducing the chemotherapeutic effect of nab-PTX in a tumor xenograft model. Moreover, α-LA might significantly reverse the superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione (GSH), and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels altered by nab-PTX in the serum and the spinal cord of rats. Furthermore, α-LA could reverse the mRNA and protein expressions of Nrf2 (nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2) and three Nrf2-responsive genes (HO-1, γ-GCLC, and NQO1) altered by nab-PTX in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) of rats. In conclusion, our study suggests that α-LA could prevent oxidative stress and peripheral neuropathy in nab-PTX-treated rats through the Nrf2 signalling pathway without diminishing chemotherapeutic effect.

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / adverse effects*
  • Albumins / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Paclitaxel / adverse effects*
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Signal Transduction
  • Thioctic Acid / pharmacology
  • Thioctic Acid / therapeutic use*


  • 130-nm albumin-bound paclitaxel
  • Albumins
  • Antioxidants
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • Thioctic Acid
  • Paclitaxel