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Papers of the Week

Papers: 1 Jun 2024 - 7 Jun 2024

2024 May 30

Pharmacol Res


Discovery of a CCR2-targeting pepducin therapy for chronic pain.


Midavaine É, Brouillette RL, Théberge E, Mona CE, Kashem SW, Côté J, Zeugin V, Besserer-Offroy É, Longpré JM, Marsault É, Sarret P


Targeting the CCL2/CCR2 chemokine axis has been shown to be effective at relieving pain in rodent models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain, therefore representing a promising avenue for the development of non-opioid analgesics. However, clinical trials targeting this receptor for inflammatory conditions and painful neuropathies have failed to meet expectations and have all been discontinued due to lack of efficacy. To overcome the poor selectivity of CCR2 chemokine receptor antagonists, we generated and characterized the function of intracellular cell-penetrating allosteric modulators targeting CCR2, namely pepducins. In vivo, chronic intrathecal administration of the CCR2-selective pepducin PP101 was effective in alleviating neuropathic and bone cancer pain. In the setting of bone metastases, we found that T cells infiltrate dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and induce long-lasting pain hypersensitivity. By acting on CCR2-expressing DRG neurons, PP101 attenuated the altered phenotype of sensory neurons as well as the neuroinflammatory milieu of DRGs, and reduced bone cancer pain by blocking CD4 and CD8 T cell infiltration. Notably, PP101 demonstrated its efficacy in targeting the neuropathic component of bone cancer pain, as evidenced by its anti-nociceptive effects in a model of chronic constriction injury of the sciatic nerve. Importantly, PP101-induced reduction of CCR2 signaling in DRGs did not result in deleterious tumor progression or adverse behavioral effects. Thus, targeting neuroimmune crosstalk through allosteric inhibition of CCR2 could represent an effective and safe avenue for the management of chronic pain.