Analgesic and anti-edemic properties of etifoxine in models of inflammatory sensitization.


Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and University of Strasbourg, Institut des Neurosciences Cellulaires et Intégratives, 67000 Strasbourg, France. Electronic address: [Email]


Inflammatory processes are critical promoting factors of chronic pain states, mostly by inducing peripheral and central sensitization of the nociceptive system. These processes are associated with a massive increase in glutamatergic transmission, sometimes facilitated by spinal disinhibition. In this study, we used etifoxine, a non-benzodiazepine anxiolytic known to amplify inhibition mediated by gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptors in pain processing regions, either directly (through allosteric modulation) or indirectly (through the synthesis of endogenous neurosteroids). We used different models of local inflammation to evaluate the possible direct action of etifoxine on analgesia and edema. Pain symptom and edema measurements were performed after intraplantar carrageenan injection or after topical ear inflammation. We found that etifoxine treatment was associated with reduced plantar surface temperature 24 h after intraplantar carrageenan injection. In this model, etifoxine also alleviated thermal hot and mechanical hyperalgesia. A similar finding was observed while analyzing pain symptoms in the late phase of the formalin test. In a model of ear inflammation, etifoxine appeared to have a moderate anti-edemic effect after topical application. This slight action of etifoxine on the limitation of inflammatory processes could be mediated in part by cyclo-oxygenase 1 activity inhibition. Etifoxine appears as a promising therapeutic tool contributing to the limitation of inflammatory pain symptoms. Since etifoxine is already prescribed as an anxiolytic in several countries, it could be a good candidate for the prevention of inflammatory-driven edema and hyperalgesia, although the precise mechanism of action relative to its anti-inflammatory potential remains to be elucidated.


Analgesia,Anxiolytic,Cyclo-oxygenase,Etifoxine,Inflammatory sensitization,Nociception,