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Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Oct 2020 - 9 Oct 2020

Pharmacology/Drug Development

2020 Oct 02


P2X3-Containing Receptors as Targets for the Treatment of Chronic Pain.



Current therapies for the treatment of chronic pain provide inadequate relief for millions of suffering patients, demonstrating the need for better therapies that will treat pain effectively and improve the quality of patient's lives. Better understanding of the mechanisms that mediate chronic pain is critical for developing drugs with improved clinical outcomes. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a key modulator in nociceptive pathways. Release of ATP from injured tissue or sympathetic efferents has sensitizing effects on sensory neurons in the periphery, and presynaptic vesicular release of ATP from the central terminals can increase glutamate release thereby potentiating downstream central sensitization mechanisms, a condition thought to underlie many chronic pain conditions. The purinergic receptors on sensory nerves primarily responsible for ATP signaling are P2X3 and P2X2/3. Selective knockdown experiments, or inhibition with small molecules, demonstrate P2X3-containing receptors are key targets to modulate nociceptive signals. Preclinical studies have identified that P2X3-containing receptors are critical for sensory transduction for bladder function, and clinical studies have shown promise in treatment for bladder pain and pain associated with osteoarthritis. Further clinical characterization of antagonists to P2X3-containing receptors may lead to improved therapies in the treatment of chronic pain.