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Papers of the Week

Papers: 6 May 2023 - 12 May 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Pharmacology/Drug Development

Inflammation/Inflammatory, Neuropathic Pain

2023 May 09

J Pain


Inhibition of T-type calcium channels with TTA-P2 reduces chronic neuropathic pain following spinal cord injury in rats.


Liu H, Lauzadis J, Gunaratna K, Sipple E, Kaczocha M, Puopolo M


Spinal cord injury (SCI)-induced neuropathic pain (SCI-NP) develops in up to 60-70% of people affected by traumatic SCI, leading to a major decline in quality of life and increased risk for depression, anxiety, and addiction. Gabapentin and pregabalin, together with antidepressant drugs, are commonly prescribed to treat SCI-NP, but their efficacy is unsatisfactory. The limited efficacy of current pharmacological treatments for SCI-NP likely reflects our limited knowledge of the underlying mechanism(s) responsible for driving the maintenance of SCI-NP. The leading hypothesis in the field supports a major role for spontaneously active injured nociceptors in driving the maintenance of SCI-NP. Recent data from our laboratory provided additional support for this hypothesis and identified the T-type calcium channels as key players in driving the spontaneous activity of SCI-nociceptors, thus providing a rational pharmacological target to treat SCI-NP. To test whether T-type calcium channels contribute to the maintenance of SCI-NP, male and female SCI and sham rats were treated with TTA-P2 (a blocker of T-type calcium channels) to determine its effects on mechanical hypersensitivity (as measured with the von Frey filaments) and spontaneous ongoing pain (as measured with the conditioned place preference paradigm), and compared them to the effects of gabapentin, a blocker of high voltage activated calcium channels. We found that both TTA-P2 and gabapentin reduced mechanical hypersensitivity in male and females SCI rats, but surprisingly only TTA-P2 reduced spontaneous ongoing pain in male SCI rats. PERSPECTIVES: SCI-induced neuropathic pain, and in particular the spontaneous ongoing pain component, is notoriously very difficult to treat. Our data provide evidence that inhibition of T-type calcium channels reduces spontaneous ongoing pain in SCI rats, supporting a clinically relevant role for T-type channels in the maintenance of SCI-induced neuropathic pain.