depression-like behaviors in mice by inhibiting hippocampal neuroinflammation activated via TLR4/NF-B pathway
Neuropathic pain (NP) that contributes to the comorbidity between pain and depression is a clinical dilemma. Neuroinflammatory responses are known to have potentially important roles in the initiation of NP and depressive mood. In this study, we aimed to investigate the effects of paeoniflorin (PF) on NP-induced depression-like behaviors by targeting the hippocampal neuroinflammation through the toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)/nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-B) signaling pathway. We used a murine model of NP caused by unilateral sciatic nerve cuffing (Cuff ). PF was injected intraperitoneally once a day for a total of 14 days. Pain and depression-like behavior changes were evaluated via behavioral tests. Pathological changes in the hippocampus of mice were observed by H&E staining. The levels of proinflammatory cytokines in the hippocampus were detected using ELISA. Activated microglia were measured by immunohistochemical staining. The TLR4/NF-B signaling pathwayassociated protein expression in the hippocampus was detected by western blotting. We found that the PF could significantly alleviate Cuff-induced hyperalgesia and depressive behaviors, lessen the pathological damage to the hippocampal cell, reduce proinflammatory cytokines levels, and inhibit microglial over-activation. Furthermore, PF downregulated the expression levels of TLR4/NF-B signaling pathwayrelated proteins in the hippocampus. These results indicate that PF is an effective drug for improving the comorbidity between NP and depression.