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Papers of the Week

Papers: 17 Sep 2022 - 23 Sep 2022

2022 Sep 14

Mol Pain

Analgesic effect of recombinant GABAergic precursors releasing MVIIA in a model of peripheral nerve injury in rats.



Development of chronic pain has been attributed to dysfunctional GABA signaling in the spinal cord. Direct pharmacological interventions on GABA signaling are usually not very efficient and often accompanied by side effects due to the widespread distribution of GABA receptors in CNS. Transplantation of GABAergic neuronal cells may restore the inhibitory potential in the spinal cord. Grafted cells may also release additional analgesic peptides by means of genetic engineering to further enhance the benefits of this approach. Conopeptides are ideal candidates for recombinant expression using cell-based strategies. The omega-conopeptide MVIIA is in clinical use for severe pain marketed as FDA approved Prialt in the form of intrathecal injections. The goal of this study was to develop transplantable recombinant GABAergic cells releasing conopeptide MVIIA and to evaluate the analgesic effect of the grafts in a model of peripheral nerve injury-induced pain. We have engineered and characterized the GABAergic progenitors expressing MVIIA. Recombinant and nonrecombinant cells were intraspinally injected into animals after the nerve injury. Animals were tested weekly up to 12 weeks for the presence of hypersensitivity, followed by histochemical and biochemical analysis of the tissue. We observed beneficial effects of the grafted cells in reducing hypersensitivity in all grafted animals, especially potent in the recombinant group. The level of pain-related cytokines was reduced in the grafted animals and correlation between these pain markers and actual behavior was indicated. This study demonstrated the feasibility of recombinant cell transplantation in the management of chronic pain.