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Evodiae fructus (EF), a fruit of Evodia rutaecarpa Bentham, has long been used as an analgesic drug in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of its pharmacological action is unclear. Here, using calcium imaging, whole-cell patch-clamp recording, and behavioral analysis, we investigated the pharmacological action of EF and its principal compound, evodiamine, on the transient receptor potential (TRP) V1 channels. Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons and TRPV1- or TRPA1-transfected human embryonic kidney-derived (HEK) 293 cells were used for calcium imaging or whole-cell patch-clamp recording. Twenty male adult Sprague-Dawley rats were used for the capsaicin-induced thermal hyperalgesia behavioral analyses. We found that evodiamine induced significant increases in intracellular calcium and robust inward currents in a subpopulation of isolated rat DRG neurons, most of which were also sensitive to capsaicin. The effect of evodiamine was completely blocked by capsazepine, a competitive antagonist of TRPV1. Evodiamine induced significant inward currents in TRPV1-, but not TRPA1-transfected HEK293 cells. Pretreatment with evodiamine reduced capsaicin-induced currents significantly. Furthermore, the in vivo pre-treatment of evodiamine suppressed thermal hyperalgesia induced by intraplantar injection of capsaicin in rats. These results identify that the analgesic effect of EF and evodiamine may be due to the activation and subsequent desensitization of TRPV1 in sensory neurons.


Emiko Iwaoka, Shenglan Wang, Nobuyuki Matsuyoshi, Yoko Kogure, Shunji Aoki, Satoshi Yamamoto, Koichi Noguchi, Yi Dai. Evodiamine suppresses capsaicin-induced thermal hyperalgesia through activation and subsequent desensitization of the transient receptor potential V1 channels. Journal of natural medicines. 2016 Jan;70(1):1-7

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PMID: 26188960

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