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Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Sep 2019 - 4 Oct 2019

Pharmacology/Drug Development


J Pain Res


Voltage gated sodium channels as therapeutic targets for chronic pain.


Ma R S Y, Kayani K, Whyte-Oshodi D, Whyte-Oshodi A, Nachiappan N, Gnanarajah S, Mohammed R
J Pain Res. 2019; 12:2709-2722.
PMID: 31564962.


Being maladaptive and frequently unresponsive to pharmacotherapy, chronic pain presents a major unmet clinical need. While an intact central nervous system is required for conscious pain perception, nociceptor hyperexcitability induced by nerve injury in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) is sufficient and necessary to initiate and maintain neuropathic pain. The genesis and propagation of action potentials is dependent on voltage-gated sodium channels, in particular, Nav1.7, Nav1.8 and Nav1.9. However, nerve injury triggers changes in their distribution, expression and/or biophysical properties, leading to aberrant excitability. Most existing treatment for pain relief acts through non-selective, state-dependent sodium channel blockage and have narrow therapeutic windows. Natural toxins and developing subtype-specific and molecular-specific sodium channel blockers show promise for treatment of neuropathic pain with minimal side effects. New approaches to analgesia include combination therapy and gene therapy. Here, we review how individual sodium channel subtypes contribute to pain, and the attempts made to develop more effective analgesics for the treatment of chronic pain.