There’s definitely not much “gain” in Neuropathic Pain, but recently some Histone Acetyltranferases (HATs) have begun to show great promise in the clinic. This includes circumin, which is used to treat a number of conditions like Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Arthritis and Neuropathic Pain. Circumin is a (p300/CREB-binding protein (CBP)) inhibitor of HAT activity, but the biological mechanisms for circumin in the treatment of neuropathic pain weren’t understood. A research team from China investigated how curcumin works to treat neuropathic pain, and found that it prevents the activity regulated expression of certain pain causing genes.
Here’s what the scientists observed in their rat model of neuropathic pain:
- Treatment with 40 and 60 mg/kg body weight curcumin for 7 consecutive days significantly attenuated neuropathic pain, whereas 20 mg/kg of curcumin showed no significant effect.
- Delving into the epigenome, ChIP analysis revealed that curcumin works in a dose-dependent manner to reduce the recruitment the HAT and it’s related acetylating modifications in gene promoters.
- These changes were observed in the promoters of the pain inducing genes: brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2).
Overall, these results show a neat little epigenetic mechanism where curcumin exerts a therapeutic role (in a dose dependent manner) in the treatment of neuropathic pain by down-regulating a HAT, which leads to the repression of key activity dependent pain inducing target genes. Interestingly, the group also observed a similar dose-dependent decrease of BDNF and Cox-2 in the spinal cord after curcumin treatment.
Find out more about pain relief at PLoS One, March 2014