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Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Jul 2021 - 9 Jul 2021

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2021 Jan-Dec

Mol Pain


Agmatine requires GluN2B-containing NMDA receptors to inhibit the development of neuropathic pain.


Peterson CD, Kitto KF, Verma H, Pflepsen K, Delpire E, Wilcox GL, Fairbanks CA
Mol Pain. 2021 Jan-Dec; 17:17448069211029171.
PMID: 34210178.


A decarboxylated form of L-arginine, agmatine, preferentially antagonizes NMDArs containing Glun2B subunits within the spinal cord and lacks motor side effects commonly associated with non-subunit-selective NMDAr antagonism, namely sedation and motor impairment. Spinally delivered agmatine has been previously shown to reduce the development of tactile hypersensitivity arising from spinal nerve ligation. The present study interrogated the dependence of agmatine's alleviation of neuropathic pain (spared nerve injury (SNI) model) on GluN2B-containing NMDArs. SNI-induced hypersensitivity was induced in mice with significant reduction of levels of spinal GluN2B subunit of the NMDAr and their floxed controls. Agmatine reduced development of SNI-induced tactile hypersensitivity in controls but had no effect in subjects with reduced levels of GluN2B subunits. Ifenprodil, a known GluN2B-subunit-selective antagonist, similarly reduced tactile hypersensitivity in controls but not in the GluN2B-deficient mice. In contrast, MK-801, an NMDA receptor channel blocker, reduced hypersensitivity in both control and GluN2B-deficient mice, consistent with a pharmacological pattern expected from a NMDAr antagonist that does not have preference for GluN2B subtypes. Additionally, we observed that spinally delivered agmatine, ifenprodil and MK-801 inhibited nociceptive behaviors following intrathecal delivery of NMDA in control mice. By contrast, in GluN2B-deficient mice, MK-801 reduced NMDA-evoked nociceptive behaviors, but agmatine had a blunted effect and ifenprodil had no effect. These results demonstrate that agmatine requires the GluN2B subunit of the NMDA receptor for inhibitory pharmacological actions in pre-clinical models of NMDA receptor-dependent hypersensitivity.