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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Mar 2024 - 29 Mar 2024

2024 Mar 25

Biomed Pharmacother



A next generation peripherally restricted Cavα2δ-1 ligand with inhibitory action on Cav2.2 channels and utility in neuropathic pain.


Kricek F, Ruf C, Meghani P, Souza IA, Gandini MA, Zamponi GW, Skouteris G


The Voltage-Gated Calcium Channel (VGCC) auxiliary subunit Cavα2δ-1 (CACNA2D1) is the target/receptor of gabapentinoids which are known therapeutics in epilepsy and neuropathic pain. Following damage to the peripheral sensory nervous system, Cavα2δ-1 is upregulated in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons in several animal models of chronic neuropathic pain. Gabapentinoids, such as gabapentin and pregabalin, engage with Cavα2δ-1 via binding an arginine residue (R241) within an RRR motif located at the N-terminus of human Cavα2δ-1. A novel, next generation gabapentinoid, engineered not to penetrate the brain, was able to generate a strong analgesic response in Chronic Constriction Injury animal model of chronic neuropathic pain and showed binding specificity for Cavα2δ-1 versus the Cavα2δ-2 subunit. This novel non-brain penetrant gabapentinoid, binds to R241 and a novel binding site on Cavα2δ-1, which is located within the VGCC_α2 domain, identified as a lysine residue within an IKAK amino acid motif (K634). The overall whole cell current amplitudes were diminished by the compound, with these inhibitory effects being diminished in R241A mutant Cavα2δ-1 subunits. The functional effects occurred at lower concentrations than those needed for inhibition by gabapentin or pregabalin, which apparently bound the Cavα2δ-1 subunit only on the R241 and not on the K634 residue. Our work sets the stage for the identification and characterisation of novel compounds with therapeutic properties in neuropathic pain and possibly in other disorders and conditions which require engagement of the Cavα2δ-1 target.