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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Aug 2020 - 14 Aug 2020

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2020 Aug 05


The α2/α3 GABAA receptor modulator TPA023B alleviates not only the sensory but also the tonic affective component of chronic pain in mice.


Diminished synaptic inhibition in the spinal dorsal horn is a major contributor to pathological pain syndromes of neuropathic or inflammatory origin. Drugs that enhance the activity of dorsal horn α2/α3GABAARs normalize exaggerated nociceptive responses in rodents with neuropathic nerve lesions or peripheral inflammation but lack most of the typical side effects of less specific GABAergic drugs. It is however still unknown whether such drugs also reduce the clinically more relevant conscious perception of pain. Here, we investigated the effects of the α2/α3GABAAR subtype-selective modulator TPA023B on the tonic aversive component of pain in mice with peripheral inflammation or neuropathy. In neuropathic mice with a chronic constriction injury of the sciatic nerve, TPA023B not only reversed hyperalgesia to tactile and heat stimuli, but was also highly effective in the conditioned place preference test. In the formalin test, TPA023B not only reduced licking of the injected paw but also reversed facial pain expression scores in the mouse grimace scale assay. Taken together, our results demonstrate that α2/α3GABAA receptor subtype-selective modulators not only reduce nociceptive withdrawal responses but also alleviate the tonic aversive components of chronic pain.