2008 Volume 31 Issue 5 Pages 1017-1020
(−)-Carvone is a monoterpene ketone that is the main active component of Mentha plant species like Mentha spicata. This study aimed to investigate the antinociceptive activity of (−)-carvone using different experimental models of pain and to investigate whether such effects might be involved in the nervous excitability elicited by others monoterpenes. In the acetic acid-induced writhing test, we observed that (−)-carvone-treated mice exhibited a significant decrease in the number of writhes when 100 and 200 mg/kg was administered. It was also demonstrated that (−)-carvone inhibited the licking response of the injected paw when 100 and 200 mg/kg was administered (i.p.) to mice in the first and second phases of the formalin test. Since naloxone (5 mg/kg, s.c.), an opioid antagonist, showed no influence on the antinociceptive action of (−)-carvone (100 mg/kg), this suggested nonparticipation of the opioid system in the modulation of pain induced by (−)-carvone. Such results were unlikely to be provoked by motor abnormality, since (−)-carvone-treated mice did not exhibit any performance alteration on the Rota-rod apparatus. Because the antinociceptive effects could be associated with neuronal excitability inhibition, we performed the single sucrose gap technique and observed that (−)-carvone (10 mM) was able to reduce the excitability of the isolated sciatic nerve through a diminution of the compound action potential amplitude by about 50% from control recordings. We conclude that (−)-carvone has antinociceptive activity associated with decreased peripheral nerve excitability.