Browsing by Subject "neuropathic pain"

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  • Sidorova, Yulia A.; Bespalov, Maxim M.; Wong, Agnes W.; Kambur, Oleg; Jokinen, Viljami; Lilius, Tuomas O.; Suleymanova, Ilida; Karelson, Gunnar; Rauhala, Pekka V.; Karelson, Mati; Osborne, Peregrine B.; Keast, Janet R.; Kalso, Eija A.; Saarma, Mart (2017)
    Neuropathic pain caused by nerve damage is a common and severe class of chronic pain. Disease-modifying clinical therapies are needed as current treatments typically provide only symptomatic relief; show varying clinical efficacy; and most have significant adverse effects. One approach is targeting either neurotrophic factors or their receptors that normalize sensory neuron function and stimulate regeneration after nerve damage. Two candidate targets are glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and artemin (ARTN), as these GDNF family ligands (GFLs) show efficacy in animal models of neuropathic pain (Boucher et al., 2000; Gardell et al., 2003: Wang et al., 2008, 2014). As these protein ligands have poor drug-like properties and are expensive to produce for clinical use, we screened 18,400 drug-like compounds to develop small molecules that act similarly to GFLs (GDNF mimetics). This screening identified BT13 as a compound that selectively targeted GFL receptor RET to activate downstream signaling cascades. BT13 was similar to NGF and ARTN in selectively promoting neurite outgrowth from the peptidergic class of adult sensory neurons in culture, but was opposite to ARTN in causing neurite elongation without affecting initiation. When administered after spinal nerve ligation in a rat model of neuropathic pain, 20 and 25 mg/kg of BT13 decreased mechanical hypersensitivity and normalized expression of sensory neuron markers in dorsal root ganglia. In control rats, BT13 had no effect on baseline mechanical or thermal sensitivity, motor coordination, or weight gain. Thus, small molecule BT13 selectively activates RET and offers opportunities for developing novel disease-modifying medications to treat neuropathic pain.
  • Chen, Zuyue; Wei, Hong; Pertovaara, Antti; Wang, Jianhong; Carlson, Synnöve (2018)
    Paracetamol has recently been suggested to affect emotion processing in addition to alleviating pain in humans. We investigated in adult male Hannover–Wistar rats whether acute intraperitoneally administrated paracetamol affects behavior in tests measuring anxiety, mood, motor activity, and memory. Unoperated rats received saline or a low (50 mg/kg) or high (300 mg/kg) dose of paracetamol, while rats with a spared nerve injury (SNI) model of neuropathy and sham-operated rats received saline or the low dose of paracetamol. Rats were tested on open-field (OFT), elevated plus-maze (EPM), light-dark box (LDB), novel-object recognition (NOR), sucrose preference, rotarod, and monofilament tests. In unoperated rats, both the low and high dose of paracetamol reduced line crossings, and grooming time in the OFT, and novel preference in NOR. The high dose of paracetamol increased the time spent in the closed arm in EPM, reduced the number of rearings and leanings in OFT, the time spent in the light box in LDB, and sucrose preference. Paracetamol had no significant effect on the rotarod test measuring motor activity. The low dose of paracetamol suppressed mechanical pain hypersensitivity in SNI rats, without influencing pain behavior in sham-operated rats. Saline- but not paracetamol-treated SNI rats spent more time than sham-operated rats in the closed arm in the EPM test. Together the results suggest that a high dose of paracetamol increases anxiety-like and anhedonic behavior, and impairs recognition memory in unoperated controls, while in neuropathy, a low dose of paracetamol reduces nerve injury-associated anxiety probably by reducing neuropathic pain.
  • Honkanen, Nina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Purpose: To assess the long-term outcome of breast reconstructions with special focus on chronic postsurgical pain (CPSP) in a larger cohort of breast cancer survivors. Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study on 121 women with mastectomy and breast reconstruction after mean 2 years 4 months follow up. The mean time from breast reconstruction to the follow-up visit was 4 years 2 months. We studied surveys on pain (Brief Pain Inventory, BPI and Douleur Neuropathique 4, DN4), quality of life (RAND-36), sleep (insomnia severity questionnaire, ISI), mood (Beck’s Depression Index, BDI; Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, HADS), and a detailed clinical sensory status. Patients were divided into three groups: abdominal flap (DIEP, fTRAM, and pTRAM), dorsal flap (LD and TDAP), and other (TMG, implant). Clinically meaningful pain was defined ≥ 4/10 on a numeric rating scale (NRS). We used patients’ pain drawings to localize the pain. We assessed preoperative pain NRS from previous data. Results: 106 (87.6%) of the patients did not have clinically meaningful persistent pain. We found no statistically significant difference between different reconstruction types with regards to persistent pain (p = 0.40), mood (BDI-II, p = 0.41 and HADS A, p = 0.54) or sleep (p = 0.14), respectively. Preoperative pain prior to breast reconstruction surgery correlated strongly with moderate or severe CPSP. Conclusion: Moderate to severe CPSP intensity was present in 14% of patients. We found no significant difference in the prevalence of pain across different reconstruction types. Preoperative pain associated significantly with postoperative persistent pain.
  • 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.
  • Rapo-Pylkkö, Susanna; Haanpää, Maija; Liira, Helena (2016)
    Objective: To present the occurrence, characteristics, etiology, interference, and medication of chronic pain among the elderly living independently at home. Design/setting: A total of 460 subjects in three cohorts aged 75, 80 and 85 years respectively received visits by communal home-care department nurses for a cross-sectional survey. Of them, 175 had chronic (duration 3 months) pain with an average intensity of 4/10 and/or moderate interference in daily life. Main outcome measures: Clinical assessment was performed for consenting subjects to define the location, intensity, etiology, type, interference and medications of chronic pain. Results: According to home visits, elderly people with chronic pain rated their health and mobility worse and felt sadder, lonelier and more tired than those without chronic pain. A geriatrician made clinical assessments for 106 patients with chronic pain in 2009-2013. Of them, 66 had three, 35 had two and 5 had one pain condition. The worst pain was musculoskeletal in 88 (83%) of patients. Pain was pure nociceptive in 61 (58%), pure neuropathic in 9 (8%), combined nociceptive and neuropathic pain in 34 (32%), and idiopathic in 2 (2%) patients. On a numerical rating scale from 0 to 10, the mean and maximal intensity of the worst pain was 5.7 and 7.7, respectively, while the mean pain interference was 5.9. Mean pain intensity and maximal pain intensity decreased by age. Duration of pain was longer than 5 years in 51 (48%) patients. Regular pain medication was used by 82 (77%) patients, most commonly paracetamol or NSAIDs. Although pain limited the lives of the elderly with chronic pain, they were as satisfied with their lives as those without chronic pain. Conclusions: Elderly people in our study often suffered from chronic pain, mostly musculoskeletal pain, and the origin of pain was neuropathic in up to 40% of these cases. However, elderly people with chronic pain rarely used the medications specifically for neuropathic pain. Based on increased loneliness, sadness and tiredness, as well as decreased subjective health and mobility, the quality of life was decreased among those with chronic pain compared with those without pain.
  • Kotliarova, Anastasiia; Sidorova, Yulia A. (2021)
    Well-known effects of neurotrophic factors are related to supporting the survival and functioning of various neuronal populations in the body. However, these proteins seem to also play less well-documented roles in glial cells, thus, influencing neuroinflammation. This article summarizes available data on the effects of glial cell line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) family ligands (GFLs), proteins providing trophic support to dopaminergic, sensory, motor and many other neuronal populations, in non-neuronal cells contributing to the development and maintenance of neuropathic pain. The paper also contains our own limited data describing the effects of small molecules targeting GFL receptors on the expression of the satellite glial marker IBA1 in dorsal root ganglia of rats with surgery- and diabetes-induced neuropathy. In our experiments activation of GFLs receptors with either GFLs or small molecule agonists downregulated the expression of IBA1 in this tissue of experimental animals. While it can be a secondary effect due to a supportive role of GFLs in neuronal cells, growing body of evidence indicates that GFL receptors are expressed in glial and peripheral immune system cells. Thus, targeting GFL receptors with either proteins or small molecules may directly suppress the activation of glial and immune system cells and, therefore, reduce neuroinflammation. As neuroinflammation is considered to be an important contributor to the process of neurodegeneration these data further support research efforts to modulate the activity of GFL receptors in order to develop disease-modifying treatments for neurodegenerative disorders and neuropathic pain that target both neuronal and glial cells.
  • Viisanen, Hanna; Nuotio, Ulpukka; Kambur, Oleg; Mahato, Arun Kumar; Jokinen, Viljami; Lilius, Tuomas; Li, Wei; Santos, Hélder A; Karelson, Mati; Rauhala, Pekka; Kalso, Eija; Sidorova, Yulia A (2020)
    The glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) family ligands (GFLs) alleviate symptoms of experimental neuropathy, protect and stimulate regeneration of sensory neurons in animal models of neuropathic pain, and restore their functional activity. However, clinical development of GFL proteins is complicated by their poor pharmacokinetic properties and multiple effects mediated by several receptors. Previously, we have identified a small molecule that selectively activates the major signal transduction unit of the GFL receptor complex, receptor tyrosine kinase RET, as an alternative to GFLs, for the treatment of neuropathic pain. We then introduced a series of chemical changes to improve the biological activity of these compounds and tested an optimized compound named BT44 in a panel of biological assays. BT44 efficiently and selectively stimulated the GFL receptor RET and activated the intracellular mitogene-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway in immortalized cells. In cultured sensory neurons, BT44 stimulated neurite outgrowth with an efficacy comparable to that of GFLs. BT44 alleviated mechanical hypersensitivity in surgery- and diabetes-induced rat models of neuropathic pain. In addition, BT44 normalized, to a certain degree, the expression of nociception-related neuronal markers which were altered by spinal nerve ligation, the neuropathy model used in this study. Our results suggest that the GFL mimetic BT44 is a promising new lead for the development of novel disease-modifying agents for the treatment of neuropathy and neuropathic pain.
  • Sidorova, Yulia A.; Saarma, Mart (2020)
    Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) family ligands (GFLs) are able to promote the survival of multiple neuronal populations in the body and, therefore, hold considerable promise for disease-modifying treatments of diseases and conditions caused by neurodegeneration. Available data reveal the potential of GFLs for the therapy of Parkinson's disease, neuropathic pain and diseases caused by retinal degeneration but, also, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and, possibly, Alzheimer's disease. Despite promising data collected in preclinical models, clinical translation of GFLs is yet to be conducted. The main reasons for the limited success of GFLs clinical development are the poor pharmacological characteristics of GFL proteins, such as the inability of GFLs to cross tissue barriers, poor diffusion in tissues, biphasic dose-response and activation of several receptors in the organism in different cell types, along with ethical limitations on patients' selection in clinical trials. The development of small molecules selectively targeting particular GFL receptors with improved pharmacokinetic properties can overcome many of the difficulties and limitations associated with the clinical use of GFL proteins. The current review lists several strategies to target the GFL receptor complex with drug-like molecules, discusses their advantages, provides an overview of available chemical scaffolds and peptides able to activate GFL receptors and describes the effects of these molecules in cultured cells and animal models.
  • Mustonen, Laura; Aho, Tommi; Harno, Hanna; Kalso, Eija (2020)
    Objectives: Static mechanical allodynia (SMA), i. e., pain caused by normally non-painful static pressure, is a prevalent manifestation of neuropathic pain (NP). Although SMA may significantly affect the patient's daily life, it is less well studied in the clinical context. We aimed to characterize SMA in women with chronic post-surgical NP (CPSNP) after breast cancer surgery. Our objective was to improve understanding of the clinical picture of this prevalent pain condition. This is a substudy of a previously published larger cohort of patients with intercostobrachial nerve injury after breast cancer surgery (Mustonen et al. Pain. 2019;160:246-56). Methods: We studied SMA in 132 patients with CPSNP after breast cancer surgery. The presence, location, and intensity of SMA were assessed at clinical sensory examination. The patients gave self-reports of pain with the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI). We studied the association of SMA to type of surgery, oncological treatments, BMI, other pains, and psychological factors. General pain sensitivity was assessed by the cold pressor test. Results: SMA was prevalent (84%) in this cohort whereas other forms of allodynia were scarce (6%). Moderate-to-severe SMA was frequently observed even in patients who reported mild pain in BPI. Breast and the side of chest were the most common locations of SMA. SMA was associated with breast surgery type, but not with psychological factors. Severe SMA, but not self-reported pain, was associated with lower cold pain tolerance. Conclusions: SMA is prevalent in post-surgical NP after breast cancer surgery and it may represent a distinct NP phenotype. High intensities of SMA may signal the presence of central sensitization. Implications: SMA should be considered when examining and treating patients with post-surgical NP after breast cancer surgery.