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Biol Pharm Bull. 2015;38(10):1573-9. doi: 10.1248/bpb.b15-00360. Epub 2015 Jul 31.

Analgesic Effect of Ilex paraguariensis Extract on Postoperative and Neuropathic Pain in Rats.

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Research Group of Innovative Special Food, Korea Food Research Institute.


Ilex paraguariensis, known as "Yerba Mate," is an herb used in a beverage that is widely consumed in southern Latin American countries. Furthermore, it has been traditionally used to treat depression, and as an analgesic to manage both nerve pain and headache. The pain-related experimental evidence regarding the analgesic effects of Mate is unclear. Therefore, this study was designed to investigate whether Mate extract exhibits analgesic effects in both the plantar incision and spared nerve injury (SNI) models in rats. We tested the mechanical withdrawal threshold (MWT) using von Frey filaments. We also tested pain-related behavior using ultrasonic vocalization (USV). Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and pain-related cytokines were also determined in the dorsal root ganglia in a rat model of SNI. Our results showed that oral administration of Mate extract significantly increased MWT values, and reduced the number of 22-27 kHz USVs 24 h after the plantar incision operation. Moreover, after 15 d of continuous treatment with Mate extract, the SNI-induced hypersensitivity, cytokine levels, and NPY expression were significantly reduced compared to the corresponding findings in the control group. These results suggest that the intake of Mate extract has potential as a treatment for both postoperative pain and neuropathic pain.

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