Cerebrolysin Attenuates Exacerbation of Neuropathic Pain, Blood-spinal Cord Barrier Breakdown and Cord Pathology Following Chronic Intoxication of Engineered Ag, Cu or Al (50–60 nm) Nanoparticles

Hari Shanker Sharma*, Lianyuan Feng, Lin Chen, Hongyun Huang, Z. Ryan Tian, Ala Nozari, Dafin F. Muresanu, José Vicente Lafuente, Rudy J. Castellani, Lars Wiklund, Aruna Sharma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Neuropathic pain is associated with abnormal sensations and/or pain induced by non-painful stimuli, i.e., allodynia causing burning or cold sensation, pinching of pins and needles like feeling, numbness, aching or itching. However, no suitable therapy exists to treat these pain syndromes. Our laboratory explored novel potential therapeutic strategies using a suitable composition of neurotrophic factors and active peptide fragments-Cerebrolysin (Ever Neuro Pharma, Austria) in alleviating neuropathic pain induced spinal cord pathology in a rat model. Neuropathic pain was produced by constrictions of L-5 spinal sensory nerves for 2–10 weeks period. In one group of rats cerebrolysin (2.5 or 5 ml/kg, i.v.) was administered once daily after 2 weeks until sacrifice (4, 8 and 10 weeks). Ag, Cu and Al NPs (50 mg/kg, i.p.) were delivered once daily for 1 week. Pain assessment using mechanical (Von Frey) or thermal (Hot-Plate) nociceptive showed hyperalgesia from 2 weeks until 10 weeks progressively that was exacerbated following Ag, Cu and Al NPs intoxication in nerve lesioned groups. Leakage of Evans blue and radioiodine across the blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) is seen from 4 to 10 weeks in the rostral and caudal cord segments associated with edema formation and cell injury. Immunohistochemistry of albumin and GFAP exhibited a close parallelism with BSCB leakage that was aggravated by NPs following nerve lesion. Light microscopy using Nissl stain exhibited profound neuronal damages in the cord. Transmission electron microcopy (TEM) show myelin vesiculation and synaptic damages in the cord that were exacerbated following NPs intoxication. Using ELISA spinal tissue exhibited increased albumin, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), myelin basic protein (MBP) and heat shock protein (HSP 72kD) upregulation together with cytokines TNF-α, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10 levels in nerve lesion that was exacerbated following NPs intoxication. Cerebrolysin treatment significantly reduced hyperalgesia and attenuated BSCB disruption, edema formation and cellular changes in nerve lesioned group. The levels of cytokines were also restored near normal levels with cerebrolysin treatment. Albumin, GFAP, MABP and HSP were also reduced in cerebrolysin treated group and thwarted neuronal damages, myelin vesiculation and cell injuries. These neuroprotective effects of cerebrolysin with higher doses were also effective in nerve lesioned rats with NPs intoxication. These observations suggest that cerebrolysin actively protects spinal cord pathology and hyperalgesia following nerve lesion and its exacerbation with metal NPs, not reported earlier.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1864-1888
Number of pages25
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Blood-spinal cord barrier
  • Cerebrolysin
  • Engineered Nanoparticles
  • Neuronal injury
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Neuroprotection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Biochemistry


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