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      Curcumin Improves Chronic Pain Induced Depression Through Regulating Serum Metabolomics in a Rat Model of Trigeminal Neuralgia

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          Depression is a prevalent and complex psychiatric disorder with high incidence in patients with chronic pain. The underlying pathogenesis of chronic pain-induced depression is complicated and remains largely unclear. An integrated analysis of endogenous substance-related metabolisms would help to understand the molecular mechanism of chronic pain-induced depression. Curcumin was reported to exert various health benefits, such as anti-depression, antioxidant, antineoplastic, analgesia, and anti-inflammation.


          The aim of this study was to analyze the biomarkers related to depression in serum and to evaluate the anti-depression properties of curcumin in a chronic pain-induced depression model of rats.


          This is a randomized, controlled experiment.


          This study was conducted at the Experimental Animal Center, Beijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical University.


          Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) was produced by injecting 4 µL, 10% cobra venom saline solution into the infraorbital nerve (ION). Curcumin was administered by gavage twice a day from post-operation day (POD) 15 to POD 42. Mechanical allodynia was assessed using von Frey filaments. Sucrose preference and forced swimming tests were performed to evaluate depression-like behaviors. The metabolomics analysis was preceded by LCMS-IT-TOF and multivariate statistical methods for sample detection and biomarker screening.


          Cobra venom intra-ION injection led to chronic mechanical allodynia, reduced sucrose preference, and prolonged immobility during forced swimming. Curcumin treatment alleviated chronic mechanical allodynia, regained sucrose preference, and reduced immobility time. Differential analysis identified 30 potential metabolites changed under TN condition. The integrated analyses further revealed two major metabolic changes by comparing the serums from sham operated rats, TN rats, and TN rats treated with curcumin: 1) ether lipid metabolism; and 2) glycerophospholipid metabolism, and suggested that curcumin may improve chronic pain-induced depression by regulating these two types of lipid metabolisms.


          Ether lipid and glycerophospholipid metabolism might be two of the pathways with the most potential related to chronic pain induced-depression; and curcumin could alleviate chronic pain induced-depression by modulating these two pathways. These results provide further insights into the mechanisms of chronic pain-induced depression and may help to identify potential targets for anti-depression properties of curcumin.

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          Most cited references 54

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          Chronic back pain is associated with decreased prefrontal and thalamic gray matter density.

          The role of the brain in chronic pain conditions remains speculative. We compared brain morphology of 26 chronic back pain (CBP) patients to matched control subjects, using magnetic resonance imaging brain scan data and automated analysis techniques. CBP patients were divided into neuropathic, exhibiting pain because of sciatic nerve damage, and non-neuropathic groups. Pain-related characteristics were correlated to morphometric measures. Neocortical gray matter volume was compared after skull normalization. Patients with CBP showed 5-11% less neocortical gray matter volume than control subjects. The magnitude of this decrease is equivalent to the gray matter volume lost in 10-20 years of normal aging. The decreased volume was related to pain duration, indicating a 1.3 cm3 loss of gray matter for every year of chronic pain. Regional gray matter density in 17 CBP patients was compared with matched controls using voxel-based morphometry and nonparametric statistics. Gray matter density was reduced in bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and right thalamus and was strongly related to pain characteristics in a pattern distinct for neuropathic and non-neuropathic CBP. Our results imply that CBP is accompanied by brain atrophy and suggest that the pathophysiology of chronic pain includes thalamocortical processes.
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            Therapeutic roles of curcumin: lessons learned from clinical trials.

            Extensive research over the past half century has shown that curcumin (diferuloylmethane), a component of the golden spice turmeric (Curcuma longa), can modulate multiple cell signaling pathways. Extensive clinical trials over the past quarter century have addressed the pharmacokinetics, safety, and efficacy of this nutraceutical against numerous diseases in humans. Some promising effects have been observed in patients with various pro-inflammatory diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, uveitis, ulcerative proctitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel disease, tropical pancreatitis, peptic ulcer, gastric ulcer, idiopathic orbital inflammatory pseudotumor, oral lichen planus, gastric inflammation, vitiligo, psoriasis, acute coronary syndrome, atherosclerosis, diabetes, diabetic nephropathy, diabetic microangiopathy, lupus nephritis, renal conditions, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, β-thalassemia, biliary dyskinesia, Dejerine-Sottas disease, cholecystitis, and chronic bacterial prostatitis. Curcumin has also shown protection against hepatic conditions, chronic arsenic exposure, and alcohol intoxication. Dose-escalating studies have indicated the safety of curcumin at doses as high as 12 g/day over 3 months. Curcumin's pleiotropic activities emanate from its ability to modulate numerous signaling molecules such as pro-inflammatory cytokines, apoptotic proteins, NF-κB, cyclooxygenase-2, 5-LOX, STAT3, C-reactive protein, prostaglandin E(2), prostate-specific antigen, adhesion molecules, phosphorylase kinase, transforming growth factor-β, triglyceride, ET-1, creatinine, HO-1, AST, and ALT in human participants. In clinical trials, curcumin has been used either alone or in combination with other agents. Various formulations of curcumin, including nanoparticles, liposomal encapsulation, emulsions, capsules, tablets, and powder, have been examined. In this review, we discuss in detail the various human diseases in which the effect of curcumin has been investigated.
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              The role of cognitive impairment in general functioning in major depression.

              The association between cognitive performance and general functioning in depression is controversial. The present study evaluated the association between cognitive dysfunction and major depressive disorder (MDD, N=70) as compared with age- and gender-matched healthy controls (n=206) and its relationship to general functioning (physical and mental health quality of life, activities of daily living, and employment status) in participants with current MDD (n=26) and those with previous MDD only (n=44). Participants were assessed clinically using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.) for the depression groups and the Diagnostic Interview for Psychoses (DIP-DM) for the control group. Measures to evaluate cognition and quality of lifes comprised the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS), the Short Form-36 Health Survey Questionnaire, and the Activities/Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (ADL/IADL); employment status was also assessed in MDD. The results showed that a) while individuals with current depression had worse cognitive performance in all domains than healthy controls, those individuals with previous depression had lasting cognitive impairments in the domains of immediate memory and attention as compared with healthy controls; b) individuals with current depression had lower scores in the visuospatial/constructional and attention domains and the total score than individuals with previous depression; c) individuals in the depression group as a whole who were currently unemployed had significantly lower scores in all domains (except attention) of cognitive function; d) cognitive function was not related to either physical or mental quality of life or impairments of activities of daily living (ADL, IADL); e) that unemployment in previous depression was related to poor cognitive function similar to those with current depression. The results indicate that MDD may have detrimental and lasting effects on cognitive performance partly related to poorer general functioning. Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                29 December 2020
                : 13
                : 3479-3492
                [1 ]Department of Anesthesiology, Beijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical University , Beijing 100050, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Department of Pharmacy, Beijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical University , Beijing, People’s Republic of China
                [3 ]Department of Anesthesiology, Pain Medicine & Critical Care Medicine, Aviation General Hospital of China Medical University , Beijing 100012, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Li Zhang; Fushan Xue Department of Anesthesiology, Beijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical University , No. 95, Yong’an Road, Xicheng District, Beijing100050, People’s Republic of China Email zhangli8828@163.com; xuefushan@aliyun.com

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2020 Zhang et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 2, References: 54, Pages: 14
                Original Research


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