Integration of microbiota and metabolomics reveals the analgesic mechanisms of emodin against neuropathic pain

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Background and objective: Neuropathic pain (NeP) induced dysbiosis of intestinal microbiota in chronic constriction injury (CCI) rats. Emodin has analgesic effect but the detailed mechanism is not clear at the present time. This study aims to explore the underling mechanism of action of emodin against NeP with in CCI model.
Methods: Male SD rats (180-220 g) were randomly divided into three groups: sham group, CCI group, and emodin group. Behavioral tests were performed to evaluate the therapeutic effects of emodin on CCI model. Feces and spinal cords of all rats were collected 15 days after surgery. 16S rDNA sequencing, untargeted metabolomics, qPCR and ELISA were performed.
Results: Mechanical withdrawal thresholds (MWT), thermal withdrawal latency (TWL) and Sciatic functional index (SFI) in emodin group were significantly higher than CCI group (P < 0.05). Emodin not only inhibited the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the spinal cords and colonic tissue, but also increased the expression of tight junction protein in colonic tissue. 16S rDNA sequencing showed that emodin treatment changed the community structure of intestinal microbiota in CCI rats. Untargeted metabolomics analysis showed that 33 differential metabolites were screened out between CCI group and emodin group. After verification, we found that emodin increased the level of adenosylmethionine (SAM) and Histamine in the spinal cord of CCI rats.
Conclusion: Emodin was effective in relieving neuropathic pain, which is linked to inhibition inflammatory response, increasing the proportion of beneficial bacteria and beneficial metabolites.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

International Immunopharmacology