Researchers in Brazil have found that simultaneously administering resveratrol and rice oil has beneficial effects on pain sensitivity and depression in a mouse model of fibromyalgia. The study adds to the evidence that reactive oxygen species might contribute to fibromyalgia symptoms and might lead the way to new therapeutics against the complex condition.
Modeling a disease such as fibromyalgia in animals is not a straightforward task, given the numerous manifestations of the disease. Recently, however, rat and mouse models of fibromyalgia have been developed, modeling the aspects of widespread pain and depression.
The study, “Coadministration of Resveratrol and Rice Oil Mitigates Nociception and Oxidative State in a Mouse Fibromyalgia-Like Model,” researched the effects of two rather uncommon substances in this mouse model – resveratrol and rice bran oil.
Resveratrol is a plant-derived substance present in grapes that has been shown to hold numerous pharmacological characteristics, including anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and pain-harnessing properties. Researchers believe these to be the result of anti-oxidant effects, reducing the harm done by an overproduction of reactive oxygen species.
Rice bran oil has similar properties, and while few studies have investigated its effects, it is suggested to have similar actions, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties.
The research team from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, exposed mice to the drug reserpine, triggering a state of widespread sensitivity, reacting with pain to normally non-painful stimuli, as well as more pain to painful stimuli. Mice also develop symptoms similar to depression.
The publication in the journal Pain Research and Treatment shows that when the team treated mice with the combination of resveratrol and rice oil, the animal’s pain sensitivity almost returned to normal levels.
Resveratrol on its own could reduce pain symptoms but possibly to a lower extent than the combination. On the other hand, rice oil alone had no effect on pain sensitivity. Mice treated with the combination also displayed fewer symptoms of depression.
To explore whether the effects could be explained by changes in oxidative stress, researchers measured reactive oxygen species in the cerebrospinal fluid of the animals, noting that the treatment, including rice oil alone, was associated with a substantial drop in the levels of oxidative compounds.