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Papers of the Week

Papers: 6 Jan 2024 - 12 Jan 2024

2024 Jan 08

Adv Sci (Weinh)


Phenotypic Screening of Prospective Analgesics Among FDA-Approved Compounds using an iPSC-Based Model of Acute and Chronic Inflammatory Nociception.


Black BJ, Ghazal RE, Lojek N, Williams V, Rajput JS, Lawson JM


Classical target-based drug screening is low-throughput, largely subjective, and costly. Phenotypic screening based on in vitro models is increasingly being used to identify candidate compounds that modulate complex cell/tissue functions. Chronic inflammatory nociception, and subsequent chronic pain conditions, affect peripheral sensory neuron activity (e.g., firing of action potentials) through myriad pathways, and remain unaddressed in regard to effective, non-addictive management/treatment options. Here, a chronic inflammatory nociception model is demonstrated based on induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) sensory neurons and glia, co-cultured on microelectrode arrays (MEAs). iPSC sensory co-cultures exhibit coordinated spontaneous extracellular action potential (EAP) firing, reaching a stable baseline after ≈27 days in vitro (DIV). Spontaneous and evoked EAP metrics are significantly modulated by 24-h incubation with tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), representing an inflammatory phenotype. Compared with positive controls (lidocaine), this model is identified as an “excellent” stand-alone assay based on a modified Z’ assay quality metric. This model is then used to screen 15 cherry-picked, off-label, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved compounds; 10 of 15 are identified as “hits”. Both hits and “misses” are discussed in turn. In total, this data suggests that iPSC sensory co-cultures on MEAs may represent a moderate-to-high-throughput assay for drug discovery targeting inflammatory nociception.