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Activation of the nuclear factor E2-related factor 2/anitioxidant response element alleviates the nitroglycerin-induced hyperalgesia in rats

Activation of the nuclear factor E2-related factor 2/anitioxidant response element alleviates the nitroglycerin-induced hyperalgesia in rats

Journal of Headache and Pain 17(1): 99

Antioxidants have been proven to weaken hyperalgesia in neuropathic pain. Endogenous antioxidant defense system may have a role in the prevention of hyperalgesia in migraine. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the role of nuclear factor E2-related factor 2/antioxidant response element (Nrf2/ARE) pathway in regulating the activation of the trigeminovascular system (TGVS) and hypersensitivity in nitroglycerin (NTG)-induced hyperalgesia rats. The expression levels of Nrf2, HO, HO1, and NQO1 in the trigeminal nucleus caudalis (TNC) were detected by western blot. Immunofluorescence was used to demonstrate the cell-specific localization of Nrf2 in TNC. Sulforaphane, a Nrf2 activator, was administered to NTG-induced rats. Then, the number of c-Fos- and nNOS-immunoreactive neurons in TNC was evaluated using immunofluorescence, and c-Fos and nNOS protein levels were quantified using western blot. Von Frey hair testing was used to evaluate the tactile thresholds of rats at different time points in different groups. Total cellular and nuclear levels of the proteins Nrf2, HO1, and NQO1 were elevated in TNC after NTG injection, and Nrf2 was found to be located in the nucleus and cytoplasm of the neurons. Sulforaphane pretreatment significantly increased the nuclear Nrf2, HO1, and NQO1 levels in TNC. In addition, sulforaphane exposure effectively inhibited the expression of nNOS and c-Fos, reduced the number of nNOS and c-Fos immunoreactive neurons in TNC, and attenuated the tactile thresholds induced by NTG injection. Oxidative stress was involved in nitroglycerin-induced hyperalgesia. Activation of the Nrf2/ARE pathway inhibited the activation of TGVS and prevented the induction of hyperalgesia. Sulforaphane might therefore be an effective agent for hyperalgesia. Further studies are needed to discover the underlying mechanisms of the process.

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Accession: 057127875

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PMID: 27778243

DOI: 10.1186/s10194-016-0694-x

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