Capsaicin-like effect of (6)-shogaol on substance P-containing primary afferents of rats: a possible mechanism of its analgesic action.


Onogi T, Minami M, Kuraishi Y, Satoh M






The effects of (6)-shogaol, a pungent component of dried ginger with a capsaicin-like chemical structure, on the release of immunoreactive substance P from the spinal dorsal horn were examined by in vitro superfusion of the dorsal-half slices of the spinal cord of the rat. (6)-Shogaol (30 microM to 1 mM) increased dose-dependently the release of immunoreactive substance P. The maximum effect of (6)-shogaol was observed at a concentration of 100 microM and less than a half of the effect of 10 microM capsaicin. The effect of (6)-shogaol (100 microM) was attenuated in slices from rats with dorsal rhizotomy and abolished by elimination of calcium ions from the perfusion medium. Pretreatment with (6)-shogaol in vitro inhibited the capsaicin-evoked release of immunoreactive substance P. On the other hand, systemic administration of (6)-shogaol (160 mg/kg) produced antinociception in rats, with a peak effect between 15 and 30 min and a smaller dose of 80 mg/kg was without effect. Treatment of rats with (6)-shogaol, at a dose of 160 mg/kg but not at 80 mg/kg, for 20 min significantly decreased release of immunoreactive substance P, evoked by capsaicin (10 microM), from the slices of cord. These data suggest that (6)-shogaol shares the sites of action with capsaicin, on the terminals of substance P-containing primary afferents, to release of the neuropeptide and inhibit the release of substance P, by subsequent stimulation of the primary afferents. The latter action of (6)-shogaol might be relevant to its analgesic effect.