Artemisinin inhibits the activation of spinal TLR4 transmembrane protein during postoperative pain.
The ART nanocapsule had a more potent and longer antinociceptive effect than free ART or morphine.
Whether in animals or humans, pain management to date has been achieved through the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids that may not always be effective, may be accompanied by side effects and may be beyond our budget.
In order to find an alternative to the management of post-operative pain, it is essential to know its origin and the behavior it has within an organism. Numerous studies highlight the activation of glial cells (essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system tissue) when looking for the source of pain. These cells potentiate the nociceptive impulse at the spinal level caused by the participation of various receptors such as Toll-Like4 (TLR4); which demonstrates the direct correlation between postoperative pain and the central nervous system.
A study conducted in Brazil (Elisei, et al., 2019) investigated the effect of artemisinin (ART) on postoperative pain in its free and nano-encapsulated format, since nanotechnology could have several advantages such as precise and controlled release, safety and therefore reduction of adverse effects. ART, as we have explained in other posts, is a plant-based molecule with medicinal applications that has reduced toxicity and has fewer side effects than the medicines used so far.
The study consisted on the induction of postoperative pain by the (SMIR) method and the injection of artemisinin on the 3rd and 28th day in order to analyze the response and behavior of different receptors and molecules causing the pain.The results of the study showed that free artemisinin, with doses between 500 and 1000 ng, reduced postoperative pain on the third day, while nano-encapsulated ART, with the same doses had this effect but increased on days 3 and 28.
Interestingly, artemisinin nanocapsule had a more powerful and prolonged antinociceptive effect (reversal of the subjective pain sensation) than free artemisinin and morphine itself; possibly because nano-encapsulation improves artemisinin bioavailability and regulates its release in the organism. Thus, artemisinin acts as an inhibitor of the TLR4 receptor and consequently of its microglia and astrocyte molecules.
Once again, science demonstrates the therapeutic power of this molecule from the plant Artemisia annua and its use and contribution to animal and human well-being.