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Neurosignals. 2014;22(1):30-42. doi: 10.1159/000355071. Epub 2013 Oct 23.

Depressing interleukin-1β contributed to the synergistic effects of tramadol and minocycline on spinal nerve ligation-induced neuropathic pain.

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Department of Anesthesiology, School of Stomatology, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, PR China.


Our previous study indicated that coadministration of tramadol and minocycline exerted synergistic effects on spinal nerve ligation (SNL)-induced neuropathic mechanical allodynia. However, the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. Recent reports indicated that spinal proinflammatory factor interleukin-1β (IL-1β) contributed to the development of neuropathic pain and the positive feedback communication between neuron and glia. Therefore, the present research is to confirm whether spinal IL-1β-related pathway response contributes to the synergistic effects of tramadol and minocycline on SNL-induced neuropathic pain. Real-time RT-PCR demonstrated IL-1β up-expression in the ipsilateral spinal dorsal horn 3 days after lesion, which could be significantly decreased by tramadol and minocycline coadministration. Immunofluorescence and Western blot indicated that SNL-induced microglial phosphorylated p38 (p-p38) upregulation was also inhibited by tramadol and minocycline coapplication. Meanwhile, intrathecal administration of p38 inhibitor SB203580 markedly alleviated mechanical allodynia whilst reducing IL-1β and Fos expression induced by SNL. Moreover, intrathecal neutralized antibody of IL-1β could depress SNL-induced mechanical allodynia and Fos expression. These results suggest that depressing SNL-induced aberrant activation of the spinal dorsal horn IL-1β-related pathway contributes to the underlying mechanism of the synergistic effects of tramadol and minocycline coadministration on SNL-induced neuropathic mechanical allodynia.

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