Browsing by Subject "mimetics"

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  • Nuotio, Ulpukka (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    Neuropathic pain is pain caused by injury or damage to the nervous system. This adverse condition affects millions of people in all parts of the world, and no known cure has been developed. Existing treatments are mainly anti-depressants or opioids that alleviate symptoms instead of repairing damaged neurons. Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and artemin, belonging to GDNF family ligands, have been shown to restore damaged neurons. However due to the poor pharmaceutical properties of these proteins, such as difficult administration and expensive production, their transition to clinics is complicated. That is why we have been developing small molecule GFL-mimetics as an alternative. One of these mimetics is a compound named BT44. Characterization of BT44 began with in vitro experiments, where we tested the compound’s ability to activate luciferase reporter gene in cells expressing GDNF (GFRalpha1 and RET) and artemin (GFRalpha3 and RET) receptors, as well as ability to induce RET phosphorylation and activate intracellular MAPK/ERK and Pi3-K/Akt pathways. Furthermore, we tested stimulation of neurite outgrowth by the compound from cultured dorsal root ganglion neurons. In a similar manner to GDNF and artemin, BT44 was shown to activate GFRalpha1/RET and GFRalpha3/RET receptors and induce RET phosphorylation and intracellular signaling, in addition to stimulating neurite outgrowth from cultured DRG neurons. Because of the promising in vitro results, we moved on to in vivo testing in rat spinal nerve ligation (SNL) model of neuropathic pain. Similarly to artemin, BT44 was able to alleviate mechanical nociception and cold allodynia in SNL rats. In addition, we found that BT44 normalized to a certain degree nociception-related markers influenced by SNL in the tissues of experimental animals, which emulates previously published results for artemin. To summarize, our results indicate that BT44 is effective in neuronal restoration and pain alleviation, suggesting it for further development as innovative neuropathic pain treatment.