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The Cav2.3 calcium channel antagonist SNX-482 reduces dorsal horn neuronal responses in a rat model of chronic neuropathic pain


Dr Gary Stephens, as above.


Neuropathic pain is a difficult state to treat, characterized by alterations in sensory processing that can include allodynia (touch-evoked pain). Evidence exists for nerve damage-induced plasticity in both transmission and modulatory systems, including changes in voltage-dependent calcium channel (VDCC) expression and function; however, the role of Cav2.3 calcium channels has not clearly been defined. Here, the effects of SNX-482, a selective Cav2.3 antagonist, on sensory transmission at the spinal cord level have been investigated in the rat. The spinal nerve ligation (SNL) model of chronic neuropathic pain [Kim & Chung, (1992)Pain, 50, 355–363] was used to induce mechanical allodynia, as tested on the ipsilateral hindpaw. In vivo electrophysiological measurements of dorsal horn neuronal responses to innocuous and noxious electrical and natural stimuli were made after SNL and compared to sham-operated animals. Spinal SNX-482 (0.5–4 µg/50 µL) exerted dose-related inhibitions of noxious C-fibre- and Aδ-fibre-mediated neuronal responses in conditions of neuropathy, but not in sham-operated animals. Measures of spinal cord hyperexcitability and nociception were most susceptible to SNX-482. In contrast, non-noxious Aβ-mediated responses were not affected by SNX-482. Moreover, responses to innocuous mechanical and also thermal stimuli were more sensitive to SNX-482 in SNL than control animals. This study is the first to demonstrate an antinociceptive role for SNX-482-sensitive channels in dorsal horn neurons during neuropathy. These data are consistent with plasticity in CaV2.3 calcium channel expression and suggest a potential selective target to reduce nociceptive transmission during conditions of nerve damage.

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