†These authors contributed equally.
Academic Editor: Chul-Kyu Park
Background: Current data indicates the incidence of neuropathic pain after surgical nerve injury is as high as 50%, thus representing a major problem for patients and for the medical system. Triptolide, a traditional Chinese herb, has anti-inflammatory effects on various neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases. This agent also reduces peripheral nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain, although the mechanism underlying this effect is still unknown. Materials and Methods: The effects of triptolide on spinal nerve ligation (SNL) injury-induced neuropathic pain was studied in an animal model using behavioral, morphological and molecular biological methods. Results: Repeated administration of intrathecal triptolide was found to alleviate SNL- or Poly(I:C) (toll-like receptor 3 agonist) injection-induced mechanical allodynia without any motor impairment. The mechanism by which triptolide reduces SNL- and Poly(I:C) injection-induced microglial activation appears to be via the inhibition of OX42 expression, which is a microglial-specific marker. Intrathecal triptolide also suppressed SNL- and Poly(I:C) injection-induced expression of spinal TRIF. TRIF transmits signals from activated TLR3 and is the downstream adaptor of TLR3 in microglia. In addition, intrathecal triptolide inhibited the expression of spinal pro-inflammatory IL-1