BACKGROUND Limonene (LIM) and its main metabolite perillyl alcohol (POH) are ingredients found in food with promising chemical entities due to their pharmacological profile. In this study, we hypothesized that LIM and POH are two molecules capable of accelerating the regenerative process and alleviating neuropathic pain. METHODS Animals were treated daily (LIM, POH and saline) for 28 days and during this period evaluated for mechanical hyperalgesia, astrocyte participation by immunofluorescence for GFAP, and ELISA was used to quantify IL-1β and TNF-α in the spinal cord. Western blot analysis of the following proteins was also performed: GFAP, GAP-43, NGF and ERK. For motor deficit analysis, tests were performed to assess hind paw muscle strength and footprints through gait (SFI). RESULTS Both POH and LIM accelerated the regenerative process and improved motor deficits comparing to positive control; however, POH was more effective, particularly between the 2nd and 3rd week after the nerve injury, increasing GAP-43, NGF and the phosphorylated ERK immunocontent. Moreover, POH and LIM were able to reduce hyperalgesia and astrocytosis. CONCLUSIONS Both substances, LIM and POH, improved the regeneration process and sensory and motor function recovery in the PNI model in mice by mitigating the inflammatory reactions and up-regulating the neurotrophic process.
Heitor G Araújo-Filho, E. W. Pereira, L. Heimfarth