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Papers: 20 Apr 2024 - 26 Apr 2024

2024 Apr 22



Analgesic effect of Botulinum toxin in neuropathic pain is sodium channel independent.


Kesdoğan AB, Neureiter A, Gaebler AJ, Kalia AK, Körner J, Lampert A


Botulinum neurotoxin type A BoNT/A is used off-label as a third line therapy for neuropathic pain. However, the mechanism of action remains unclear. In recent years, the role of voltage-gated sodium channels (Nav) in neuropathic pain became evident and it was suggested that block of sodium channels by BoNT/A would contribute to its analgesic effect. We assessed sodium channel function in the presence of BoNT/A in heterologously expressed Nav1.7, Nav1.3, and the neuronal cell line ND7/23 by high throughput automated and manual patch-clamp. We used both the full protein and the isolated catalytic light chain LC/A for acute or long-term extracellular or intracellular exposure. To assess the toxin’s effect in a human cellular system, we differentiated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) into sensory neurons from a healthy control and a patient suffering from a hereditary neuropathic pain syndrome (inherited erythromelalgia) carrying the Nav1.7/p.Q875E-mutation and carried out multi electrode array measurements. Both BoNT/A and the isolated catalytic light chain LC/A showed limited effects in heterologous expression systems and the neuronal cell line ND7/23. Spontaneous activity in iPSC derived sensory neurons remained unaltered upon BoNT/A exposure both in neurons from the healthy control and the mutation carrying patient. BoNT/A may not specifically be beneficial in pain syndromes linked to sodium channel variants. The favorable effects of BoNT/A in neuropathic pain are likely based on mechanisms other than sodium channel blockage and new approaches to understand BoNT/A’s therapeutic effects are necessary.