Objective: To investigate the effect of sevoflurane on neuropathic pain induced by chronic constriction injury (CCI) of sciatic nerve in mice, and to elucidate its mechanism by animal experiments.

Methods and Results: Thirty-two C57BL/6 mice were randomly divided into four groups: Sham group, Model group, Control group and Sevoflurane group. First, a mouse model of neuropathic pain was established. Then, the mice in each group were killed on Day 14 after operation to harvest the enlarged lumbosacral spinal cord. In contrast with the Model group, the Sevoflurane group displayed a significantly increased paw withdrawal mechanical threshold (PWMT) and significantly prolonged paw withdrawal thermal latency (PWTL) from Day 5 after operation. The morphological changes of lumbosacral spinal cord were observed by hematoxylin-eosin (HE) staining and transmission electron microscopy. Pathological results showed that sevoflurane reduced nuclear pyknosis in lumbosacral spinal cord tissue, with a large number of mitochondrial crista disappearance and mitochondrial swelling. The results of Western blotting showed that sevoflurane significantly decreased the protein expressions of phosphorylated phospholipase Cγ (p-PLCγ), phosphorylated calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (p-CaMKII) and phosphorylated inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate receptor (p-IP3R), and reduced the protein expressions of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress proteins glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) and GRP94, oxidative stress-related proteins P22 and P47 and inflammatory factors nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3), interleukin-1 β (IL-1β), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α).

Conclusions: Sevoflurane inhibits neuropathic pain by maintaining ER stress and oxidative stress homeostasis through inhibiting the activation of the PLCγ/CaMKII/IP3R signaling pathway.