Researchers discovered a novel approach to treat neuropathic pain, according to a study conducted on May 4, 2018.
This study was conducted by the researchers from Indiana University in Bloomington, USA and the Turku Centre for Biotechnology in Finland. Researchers were aware that biological pathway that is activated by binding of the excitatory transmitter glutamate to receptors called NMDARs triggers pathological pain. Then, this process further triggers activation of an enzyme neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), which generates nitric oxide gas. However, experimental drugs designed to block either the NMDAR receptor or the nNOS enzyme were not successful and are found to have intolerable side effects such as memory impairment and motor dysfunction.
This study has demonstrated that an experimental molecule reduces neuropathic pain in rodents resulting from either nerve damage or a common chemotherapy drug. After discovering that a protein called as NOS1AP triggers several biological pathways that are associated with abnormal glutamate signaling, including neuropathic pain, researchers from the University of Turku in Finland were able to design the molecule.
Furthermore, researchers demonstrated how the experimental molecule that was developed nNOS signaling to NOS1AP reduced two forms of neuropathic pain in rodents. Chemotherapeutic agent paclitaxel or nerve damage leads to the development of such pain. Professor Andrea Hohmann said, “Importantly, the chemical that prevents this signaling did not cause the negative side effects observed in previous experiments. Our studies suggest that the nNOS-NOS1AP interaction site is a previously unrecognized target for pain therapies.”
The results of this study suggests that the protein NOS1AP might be a valuable novel target that will be helpful in the development of more effective medicines for the treatment of neuropathic pain.