Postoperative pain remains a major clinical problem as there are limited analgesic strategies that have been proven to be effective in preventing and relieving this type of pain. Natural products, including flavonoids, have distinct pharmacological properties and play an important role in the discovery of analgesic drugs.
In this study, the flavonoid eriocitrin (eriodictyol 7- O-rutinoside), which is the main flavonoid in lemon fruit ( Citrus limon), was mechanistically investigated for its prospective antinociceptive effect in a mouse model of postoperative pain. The antinociceptive property was evaluated by utilizing both tonic (acetic acid-induced writhing behavior) and phasic (hot-plate) nociception modalities. The hindpaw incisional surgery was performed and hyperalgesia was assessed using von Frey filaments.
The tested doses of eriocitrin significantly attenuated ( P<0.01, P<0.001) the chemically-induced tonic visceral nociception (5, 10, 15, and 30 mg/kg) and acute phasic thermal nociception (10, 15, and 30 mg/kg). A significant dose-dependent reduction in the incisional nociceptive hyperalgesia was exhibited by eriocitrin, with a marked antinociception observed at doses of 15 mg/kg ( P<0.05 during 30–60 minutes) and 30 mg/kg ( P<0.05, P<0.01 during 30–120 minutes).
The antinociceptive effect of eriocitrin (30 mg/kg) was strongly blocked by the antagonists of the opioid receptor, naltrexone, and GABA A receptor, bicuculline, thereby suggesting the involvement of opioidergic and GABAergic mechanisms in the nociception, reducing proclivity of eriocitrin during transmission of incisional nociception. These results concluded that eriocitrin has a potent antinociceptive effect in postoperative pain conditions, probably mediated through opioid and GABA A receptors.