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08.09.2016 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Journal of Natural Medicines 1/2017

Ephedra Herb extract activates/desensitizes transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 and reduces capsaicin-induced pain

Journal of Natural Medicines > Ausgabe 1/2017
Shunsuke Nakamori, Jun Takahashi, Sumiko Hyuga, Toshiko Tanaka-Kagawa, Hideto Jinno, Masashi Hyuga, Takashi Hakamatsuka, Hiroshi Odaguchi, Yukihiro Goda, Toshihiko Hanawa, Yoshinori Kobayashi
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11418-016-1034-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
A correction to this article is available online at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11418-018-1196-8.


Kampo medicines containing Ephedra Herb (EH) such as eppikajutsubuto and makyoyokukanto are used to treat myalgia, arthralgia, and rheumatism. The analgesic effects of these Kampo medicines are attributed to the anti-inflammatory action of EH. However, the molecular mechanism of the analgesic effect of EH remains to be clarified. In this study, the effects of EH extract (EHE) on transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), a nonselective ligand-gated cation channel, which plays an essential role in nociception on sensory neurons, were investigated using mTRPV1/Flp-In293 cells (stable mouse TRPV1-expressing transfectants). Administration of EHE increased the intracellular Ca2+ concentration in these cells, which was inhibited by the TRPV1 antagonist, N-(4-tert-butylphenyl)-1,2-dihydro-4-(3-chloropyridine-2-yl) tetrahydropyrazine-1-carboxamide (BCTC), indicating that EHE activated TRPV1. Examination of EHE-induced nociceptive pain in vivo revealed that an intradermal (i.d.) injection of EHE into the hind paw of mice induced paw licking, a pain-related behavior, and that the extract increased paw licking times in a dose-dependent manner. The EHE-induced paw licking was also inhibited by BCTC. An i.d. injection of EHE 30 min before administration of capsaicin decreased capsaicin-induced paw licking times. Similarly, oral administration of the extract also suppressed capsaicin-induced paw licking, without affecting the physical performance of the mice. These results suggest that EHE suppresses capsaicin-induced paw licking by regulating TRPV1 activity. Thus, the antinociceptive effects of EHE seem to be produced by its direct action on sensory neurons through TRPV1.

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