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Papers: 10 Feb 2024 - 16 Feb 2024

2024 Feb 09

Eur J Pharmacol


Effect of ABT-639 on Cav3.2 channel activity and its analgesic actions in mouse models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain.


Antunes FTT, Huang S, Chen L, Zamponi GW


Cav3.2 T-type calcium channels are important targets for pain relief in rodent models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Even though many T-type channel blockers have been tested in mice, only one molecule, ABT-639, has been tested in phase II clinical studies and did not produce analgesic effects over placebo. Here we examined the effects of ABT-639 on Cav3.2 channel activity in tsA-201 cells and dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, in comparison with another established Cav3.2 inhibitor Z944. These experiments revealed that Z944 mediated ∼100-fold more potent inhibition of Cav3.2 currents than ABT-639, with the latter blocking channel activity by less than 15 percent when applied at a concentration of 30 μM. A slight increase in ABT-639 potency was observed at more depolarized holding potentials, suggesting that this compound may act preferentially on inactivated channels. We tested the effects of both compounds in the Complete Freund’s Adjuvant (CFA) model of chronic inflammatory pain, and in partial sciatic nerve injury model of neuropathic pain in mice. In the neuropathic pain model, both Z944 and ABT-639 reversed mechanical hypersensitivity to similar degrees when delivered systemically, but remarkably, when delivered intrathecally, only Z944 was effective. In the CFA model, both compounds reversed thermal hyperalgesia upon systemic delivery, but only Z944 mediated pain relief upon intrathecal delivery, indicating that ABT-639 acts primarily at peripheral sites. ABT-639 lost its analgesic effects in CFA treated Cav3.2 null mice, indicating that these channels are essential for ABT-639-mediated pain relief despite its poor inhibition of Cav3.2 currents.