EHE (Lot. 2091037010) was purchased from Tsumura & Co. (Tokyo, Japan). The ephedrine content of EHE was quantified by HPLC, and was approximately 2 % (Fig. S1). Capsaicin and N-(4-tert-butylphenyl)-1,2-dihydro-4-(3-chloropyridine-2-yl) tetrahydropyrazine-1-carboxamide (BCTC) were purchased from Funakoshi Co., Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan).
Specific pathogen-free ddY mice (5-week-old, male) were purchased from Japan SLC, Inc. (Shizuoka, Japan). Prior to experimentation, the mice were acclimatized for 1 week at a temperature of 25 ± 2 °C, humidity of 50 ± 10 %, and a 12-h light/12-h dark cycle. All animal experiments were performed between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The protocol for animal experiments was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Kitasato University, and was performed in accordance with the Kitasato University guidelines for animal care, handling, and termination, which are in line with the international and Japanese guidelines for animal care and welfare.
Transfectant Flp-In293 cells
Flp-In293 cells, derived from the HEK293 cell line containing a stably integrated FRT site, were transfected using Lipofectamine (Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., Waltham, MA, USA) with pOG44 vector (Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.) and pEF5/FRT/V5-DEST vector (Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.) harboring full-length mouse TRPV1 cDNA (GeneCopoeia Inc., Rockville, MD, USA). The cells were cultivated in hygromycin B (200 μg/ml) for 4 weeks, and stable mouse TRPV1-expressing transfectants (mTRPV1/Flp-In293 cells) were established. The expression levels of TRPV1 protein in mTRPV1/Flp-In293 and Flp-In293 cells were determined by Western blotting using anti-TRPV1 antibody (Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc., Dallas, TX, USA).
The mTRPV1/Flp-In293 cells were cultured in Dulbecco’s modified Eagle medium (DMEM) supplemented with 10 % fetal bovine serum (FBS), 2 mM GlutaMAX, 0.1 mM MEM non-essential amino acid solution (MEM NEAA), 200 µg/ml hygromycin B, 100 U/ml penicillin, and 100 µg/ml streptomycin at 37 °C in 5 % CO2. Flp-In293 cells were cultured under the same conditions without hygromycin B. The reagents for cell culture were purchased from Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.
Measurement of intracellular Ca2+ concentration in mTRPV1/Flp-In293 and Flp-In293 cells
Measurement of intracellular Ca2+ concentration was performed as previously described [17, 18]. Mouse TRPV1/Flp-In293 and Flp-In293 cells (4 × 104 cells/well) were cultured in 100 µl of DMEM with 10 % FBS, 2 mM GlutaMAX, and 0.1 mM MEM NEAA in 96-well, poly-d-lysine black-walled, clear-bottomed plates (Greiner Bio-One, Frickenhausen, Germany) for 24 h. The medium was exchanged and the cells incubated in Hank’s balanced salt solution (HBSS) buffer and 20 mM HEPES buffer (pH 7.4) containing FLIPR® calcium 5 assay reagent (Molecular Devices, Sunnyvale, CA, USA) for 1 h at 37 °C. The fluorescence was immediately measured using a FlexStation 3 microplate reader (Molecular Devices) (excitation at 485 nm and emission at 525 nm, using a 515-nm cut-off) for 20 s. Subsequently, HBSS buffer containing 0–1000 µg/ml of EHE or 0–0.2 µM capsaicin was added, and the fluorescence was immediately measured.
To examine the effect of BCTC, a TRPV1 antagonist, on EHE- or capsaicin-induced increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration, HBSS buffer containing 0–10 nM BCTC was added after the initial fluorescence measurement was made. After 60 s, HBSS buffer containing 1000 µg/ml EHE or 0.00625 µM capsaicin was added, and the fluorescence was immediately measured. In these experiments, capsaicin and BCTC were dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and diluted with HBSS buffer. The final DMSO concentration was adjusted to within 0.1–0.2 %. The data were analyzed by Soft Max Pro 5.4 software (Molecular Devices).
EHE- or capsaicin-induced paw licking test
The capsaicin-induced paw licking test was performed as previously described . Mice were grouped into 4 or 5 groups treated with different doses of capsaicin or EHE, with 5–8 mice in each group. The mice were placed individually for adaptation in transparent acrylic cylinder cages with a height of 200 mm and a diameter of 100 mm. After 20 min, the mice were injected with 10 μl of vehicle (DMSO:Tween-80:saline = 1:1:8) containing 0.031–3.1 μg/paw capsaicin, or 0.3–10 mg/paw EHE, into the plantar surface of the left hind paw using a microsyringe (MS-NG50; Ito Microsyringe Co., Ltd, Tokyo, Japan) with a sharp-edged needle (28 G; Ito Microsyringe, Co., Ltd). The licking behavior was recorded using a digital video camera for a period of 5 min.
To investigate the effect of BCTC on EHE- or capsaicin-induced pain, the mice were grouped into 3 or 4 groups treated with three different doses of BCTC, with 3–7 mice in each group. The experiment was performed as described above except by injecting the mice with 10 μl of the vehicle containing 5 mg/paw EHE, together with 0.037–0.37 μg/paw BCTC.
To compare the time course of EHE-induced paw licking with that induced by capsaicin, the mice were grouped into 3 groups treated with vehicle, capsaicin, and EHE, with 3 mice in each group. The mice were injected with 10 µl of the vehicle, with or without 3 mg/paw EHE or 0.92 μg/paw capsaicin, into the plantar surface of the left hind paw. The licking behavior was recorded using the digital video camera for a period of 60 min.
Analgesic effect of i.d. administration of EHE
The mice were grouped into 6 groups treated with vehicle, EHE or capsaicin, with 6 mice in each group. The mice were injected with 10 µl of the vehicle, with or without 3 mg/paw EHE or 0.92 μg/paw capsaicin into the plantar surface of the left hind paw. After 30 or 60 min, 0.18 μg/paw capsaicin (10 µl) was injected into the same area, and the licking time was measured.
Analgesic effect of oral (p.o.) administration of EHE
The mice were grouped into 14 groups treated with either EHE or water, with 4–8 mice in each group. The mice were administered p.o. with 700 mg/kg of EHE. After a period of 0, 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 6, and 24 h, 0.18 μg/paw capsaicin (10 µl) was injected into the plantar surface of the left hind paw, and the licking time was measured for 5 min. To analyze the effects of different doses of EHE, the mice were administered p.o. with 87.5–700 mg/kg of EHE. After 30 min, 0.18 μg/paw capsaicin (10 µl) was injected as described above.
The rotarod test was performed as previously reported . A rotarod treadmill (MK-600; Muromachi Kikai Co., Ltd, Tokyo, Japan) was used in this study. To adapt the mice to the rotarod, they were placed on the rod rotating at 28 rpm for 5 min each hour six times, 1 day before the test. On the day of the test, another episode of training was performed, and the mice that fell off the rotating shaft were excluded from the experiment. The mice were administered water or 175–700 mg/kg of EHE orally. After 30 min, we measured the endurance time the mice could remain on the rotarod.
All data are expressed as mean ± standard error of the mean (SEM) and analyzed by one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Significant differences between the control and treatment groups were determined by Dunnett’s multiple comparison test or Student’s t test. All statistical analyses were performed using Prism 5 (GraphPad Software Inc., San Diego, CA, USA). Statistical significance was determined based on values of p < 0.05, 0.01, and 0.001.