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Papers of the Week

Papers: 18 Mar 2023 - 24 Mar 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Pharmacology/Drug Development

Neuropathic Pain

2023 Mar 17

J Pharmacol Exp Ther


K Channel Prodrugs Reduce Inflammatory and Neuropathic Hypersensitivity, Morphine Induced Hypersensitivity, and Precipitated Withdrawal in Mice.


Doucette A, Johnson K, Hulke S, Mujteba S, Miller E, Meyer B, Dosa PI, Klein AH


Previous studies show ATP-sensitive potassium (K) channel openers can reduce hypersensitivity associated with chronic pain models in rodents, and reduce morphine tolerance. Many agonists of K channels are not soluble in physiologically relevant vehicles, requiring adaptation for clinical use. This study compared the antinociception activity of novel K channel targeting prodrugs, CKLP1, CKLP2, and CF3-CKLP. These prodrugs are activated by endogenous alkaline phosphatase enzymes present in the peripheral and central nervous systems. Analgesic capabilities of intrathecally injected prodrugs were tested in rodent models of spinal nerve ligation (SNL) and Complete Freund’s Adjuvant (CFA) as models for neuropathic and inflammatory pain, respectively. CKLP1 and CKLP2 significantly increased mechanical paw withdrawal thresholds 1-2 hours after intrathecal administration in the SNL model, but all three prodrugs were able to attenuate hypersensitivity up to 7 days after CFA treatment. The reduction of opioid tolerance and opioid-induced hypersensitivity in mice treated chronically with morphine was significantly reduced in CKLP1 and CKLP2 treated animals. Prodrug cleavage was confirmed in mouse spinal cords using liquid chromatography. These studies may aid in the further development of K channel prodrugs for use in treatments of chronic pain, opioid tolerance, and withdrawal. The cromakalim prodrugs, CKLP1, CKLP2, and CF3-CKLP1 reduced hypersensitivity in inflammatory and neuropathic pain models in male and female mice. CKLP1 and CKLP2 also reduced morphine induced hypersensitivity in a mouse model of chronic morphine exposure. CKLP2 reduced jumping and rearing behaviors after naloxone-induced precipitated morphine withdrawal. Taken together, CKLP2 demonstrates the potential for development as a non-opioid analgesic drug.