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J Pharmacol Sci. 2012;118(1):43-54. Epub 2011 Dec 23.

Dragon's blood inhibits chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain responses by blocking the synthesis and release of substance P in rats.

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Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, South-Central University for Nationalities, China.


As a traditional Chinese medicine, dragon's blood (DB) is widely used in treating various pains for thousands of years due to its potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. In the present study, we observed that intragastric administration of DB at dosages of 0.14, 0.56, and 1.12 g/kg potently inhibited paw edema, hyperalgesia, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) protein expression, or preprotachykinin-A mRNA expression in carrageenan-inflamed or sciatic nerve-injured (chronic constriction injury) rats, respectively. A short-term (15 s or 10 min) pre-exposure of cultured rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons to DB (0.3, 3, and 30 µg/ml) or its component cochinchinenin B (CB; 0.1, 1, and 10 µM) blocked capsaicin-evoked increases in both the intracellular calcium ion concentration and the substance P release. Moreover, a long-term (180 min) exposure of cultured rat DRG neurons to DB or CB significantly attenuated bradykinin-induced substance P release. These findings indicate that DB exerts anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects by blocking the synthesis and release of substance P through inhibition of COX-2 protein induction and intracellular calcium ion concentration. Therefore, DB may serve as a promising potent therapeutic agent for treatment of chronic pain, and its effective component CB might partly contribute to anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.

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