Discovery of Aryl Sulfonamides as Isoform-Selective Inhibitors of NaV1.7 with Efficacy in Rodent Pain Models.
ABSTRACT: We report on a novel series of aryl sulfonamides that act as nanomolar potent, isoform-selective inhibitors of the human sodium channel hNaV1.7. The optimization of these inhibitors is described. We aimed to improve potency against hNaV1.7 while minimizing off-target safety concerns and generated compound 3. This agent displayed significant analgesic effects in rodent models of acute and inflammatory pain and demonstrated that binding to the voltage sensor domain 4 site of NaV1.7 leads to an analgesic effect in vivo. Our findings corroborate the importance of hNaV1.7 as a drug target for the treatment of pain.
Project description:Venom-derived peptides have attracted much attention as potential lead molecules for pharmaceutical development. A well-known example is Huwentoxin-IV (HwTx-IV), a peptide toxin isolated from the venom of the Chinese bird-eating spider Haplopelma schmitdi. HwTx-IV was identified as a potent blocker of a human voltage-gated sodium channel (hNaV1.7), which is a genetically validated analgesic target. The peptide was promising as it showed high potency at NaV1.7 (IC50 ~26 nM) and selectivity over the cardiac NaV subtype (NaV1.5). Mutagenesis studies aimed at optimising the potency of the peptide resulted in the development of a triple-mutant of HwTx-IV (E1G, E4G, Y33W, m3-HwTx-IV) with significantly increased potency against hNaV1.7 (IC50 = 0.4 ± 0.1 nM) without increased potency against hNaV1.5. The activity of m3-HwTx-IV against other NaV subtypes was, however, not investigated. Similarly, the structure of the mutant peptide was not characterised, limiting the interpretation of the observed increase in potency. In this study we produced isotope-labelled recombinant m3-HwTx-IV in E. coli, which enabled us to characterise the atomic-resolution structure and dynamics of the peptide by NMR spectroscopy. The results show that the structure of the peptide is not perturbed by the mutations, whilst the relaxation studies reveal that residues in the active site of the peptide undergo conformational exchange. Additionally, the NaV subtype selectivity of the recombinant peptide was characterised, revealing potent inhibition of neuronal NaV subtypes 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.6 and 1.7. In parallel to the in vitro studies, we investigated NaV1.7 target engagement of the peptide in vivo using a rodent pain model, where m3-HwTx-IV dose-dependently suppressed spontaneous pain induced by the NaV1.7 activator OD1. Thus, our results provide further insight into the structure and dynamics of this class of peptides that may prove useful in guiding the development of inhibitors with improved selectivity for analgesic NaV subtypes.
Project description:Nav1.7 channels are mainly distributed in the peripheral nervous system. Blockade of Nav1.7 channels with small-molecule inhibitors in humans might provide pain relief without affecting the central nervous system. Based on the facts that many reported Nav1.7-selective inhibitors contain aryl sulfonamide fragments, as well as a tricyclic antidepressant, maprotiline, has been found to inhibit Nav1.7 channels, we designed and synthesized a series of compounds with ethanoanthracene and aryl sulfonamide moieties. Their inhibitory activity on sodium channels were detected with electrophysiological techniques. We found that compound 10o potently inhibited Nav1.7 channels stably expressed in HEK293 cells (IC50?=?0.64?±?0.30?nmol/L) and displayed a high Nav1.7/Nav1.5 selectivity. In mouse small-sized dorsal root ganglion neurons, compound 10o (10, 100?nmol/L) dose-dependently decreased the sodium currents and dramatically suppressed depolarizing current-elicited neuronal discharge. Preliminary in vivo experiments showed that compound 10o possessed good analgesic activity: in a mouse visceral pain model, administration of compound 10o (30-100?mg/kg, i.p.) effectively and dose-dependently suppressed acetic acid-induced writhing.
Project description:Human genetic studies have implicated the voltage-gated sodium channel NaV1.7 as a therapeutic target for the treatment of pain. A novel peptide, ?-theraphotoxin-Pn3a, isolated from venom of the tarantula Pamphobeteus nigricolor, potently inhibits NaV1.7 (IC50 0.9?nM) with at least 40-1000-fold selectivity over all other NaV subtypes. Despite on-target activity in small-diameter dorsal root ganglia, spinal slices, and in a mouse model of pain induced by NaV1.7 activation, Pn3a alone displayed no analgesic activity in formalin-, carrageenan- or FCA-induced pain in rodents when administered systemically. A broad lack of analgesic activity was also found for the selective NaV1.7 inhibitors PF-04856264 and phlotoxin 1. However, when administered with subtherapeutic doses of opioids or the enkephalinase inhibitor thiorphan, these subtype-selective NaV1.7 inhibitors produced profound analgesia. Our results suggest that in these inflammatory models, acute administration of peripherally restricted NaV1.7 inhibitors can only produce analgesia when administered in combination with an opioid.
Project description:Loss-of-function mutations in the human voltage-gated sodium channel NaV1.7 result in a congenital indifference to pain. Selective inhibitors of NaV1.7 are therefore likely to be powerful analgesics for treating a broad range of pain conditions. Herein we describe the identification of µ-SLPTX-Ssm6a, a unique 46-residue peptide from centipede venom that potently inhibits NaV1.7 with an IC50 of ?25 nM. µ-SLPTX-Ssm6a has more than 150-fold selectivity for NaV1.7 over all other human NaV subtypes, with the exception of NaV1.2, for which the selectivity is 32-fold. µ-SLPTX-Ssm6a contains three disulfide bonds with a unique connectivity pattern, and it has no significant sequence homology with any previously characterized peptide or protein. µ-SLPTX-Ssm6a proved to be a more potent analgesic than morphine in a rodent model of chemical-induced pain, and it was equipotent with morphine in rodent models of thermal and acid-induced pain. This study establishes µ-SPTX-Ssm6a as a promising lead molecule for the development of novel analgesics targeting NaV1.7, which might be suitable for treating a wide range of human pain pathologies.
Project description:Strong human genetic evidence points to an essential contribution of the voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.7 to pain sensation: loss of Nav1.7 function leads to congenital insensitivity to pain, whereas gain-of-function mutations in the <i>SCN9A</i> gene that encodes Nav1.7 cause painful neuropathies, such as inherited erythromelalgia, a syndrome characterized by episodic spontaneous pain. Selective Nav1.7 channel blockers thus hold promise as potential painkillers with improved safety and reduced unwanted side effects compared with existing therapeutics. To determine the maximum effect of a theoretically perfectly selective Nav1.7 inhibitor, we generated a tamoxifen-inducible KO mouse model enabling genetic deletion of Nav1.7 from adult mice. Electrophysiological recordings of sensory neurons from these mice following tamoxifen injection demonstrated the loss of Nav1.7 channel current and the resulting decrease in neuronal excitability of small-diameter neurons. We found that behavioral responses to most, but surprisingly not all, modalities of noxious stimulus are abolished following adult deletion of Nav1.7, pointing toward indications where Nav1.7 blockade should be efficacious. Furthermore, we demonstrate that isoform-selective acylsulfonamide Nav1.7 inhibitors show robust analgesic and antinociceptive activity acutely after a single dose in mouse pain models shown to be Nav1.7-dependent. All experiments were done with both male and female mice. Collectively, these data expand the depth of knowledge surrounding Nav1.7 biology as it relates to pain, and provide preclinical proof of efficacy that lays a clear path toward translation for the therapeutic use of Nav1.7-selective inhibitors in humans.<b>SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT</b> Loss-of-function mutations in the sodium channel Nav1.7 cause congenital insensitivity to pain in humans, making Nav1.7 a top target for novel pain drugs. Targeting Nav1.7 selectively has been challenging, however, in part due to uncertainties in which rodent pain models are dependent on Nav1.7. We have developed and characterized an adult-onset Nav1.7 KO mouse model that allows us to determine the expected effects of a theoretically perfect Nav1.7 blocker. Importantly, many commonly used pain models, such as mechanical allodynia after nerve injury, appear to not be dependent on Nav1.7 in the adult. By defining which models are Nav1.7 dependent, we demonstrate that selective Nav1.7 inhibitors can approximate the effects of genetic loss of function, which previously has not been directly established.
Project description:A fundamental mechanism that drives the propagation of electrical signals in the nervous system is the activation of voltage-gated sodium channels. The sodium channel subtype Nav1.7 is critical for the transmission of pain-related signaling, with gain-of-function mutations in Nav1.7 resulting in various painful pathologies. Loss-of-function mutations cause complete insensitivity to pain and anosmia in humans that otherwise have normal nervous system function, rendering Nav1.7 an attractive target for the treatment of pain. Despite this, no Nav1.7 selective therapeutic has been approved for use as an analgesic to date. Here we present a summary of research that has focused on engineering peptides found in spider venoms to produce Nav1.7 selective antagonists. We discuss the progress that has been made on various scaffolds from different venom families and highlight the challenges that remain in the effort to produce a Nav1.7 selective, venom-based analgesic.
Project description:Nav1.7, a peripheral neuron voltage-gated sodium channel, is essential for pain and olfaction in mice and humans. We examined the role of Nav1.7 as well as Nav1.3, Nav1.8, and Nav1.9 in different mouse models of chronic pain. Constriction-injury-dependent neuropathic pain is abolished when Nav1.7 is deleted in sensory neurons, unlike nerve-transection-related pain, which requires the deletion of Nav1.7 in sensory and sympathetic neurons for pain relief. Sympathetic sprouting that develops in parallel with nerve-transection pain depends on the presence of Nav1.7 in sympathetic neurons. Mechanical and cold allodynia required distinct sets of neurons and different repertoires of sodium channels depending on the nerve injury model. Surprisingly, pain induced by the chemotherapeutic agent oxaliplatin and cancer-induced bone pain do not require the presence of Nav1.7 sodium channels or Nav1.8-positive nociceptors. Thus, similar pain phenotypes arise through distinct cellular and molecular mechanisms. Therefore, rational analgesic drug therapy requires patient stratification in terms of mechanisms and not just phenotype.
Project description:Current treatments for chronic pain rely largely on opioids despite their significant side effects and risk of addiction. Genetic studies have identified in humans key targets pivotal to nociceptive processing. In particular, a hereditary loss-of-function mutation in NaV1.7, a sodium channel protein associated with signaling in nociceptive sensory afferents, leads to insensitivity to pain without other neurodevelopmental alterations. However, the high sequence and structural similarity between NaV subtypes has frustrated efforts to develop selective inhibitors. Here, we investigated targeted epigenetic repression of NaV1.7 in primary afferents via epigenome engineering approaches based on clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-dCas9 and zinc finger proteins at the spinal level as a potential treatment for chronic pain. Towards this end, we first optimized the efficiency of NaV1.7 repression in vitro in Neuro2A cells, and then by the lumbar intrathecal route delivered both epigenome-engineering platforms via adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) to assess their effects in three mouse models of pain: carrageenan-induced inflammatory pain, paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain and BzATP-induced pain. Our results demonstrate: i) effective repression of NaV1.7 in lumbar dorsal root ganglia; ii) reduced thermal hyperalgesia in the inflammatory state; iii) decreased tactile allodynia in the neuropathic state; and iv) no changes in normal motor function. We anticipate this genomically scarless and non-addictive pain prevention and amelioration approach enabling Long-lasting Analgesia via Targeted in vivo Epigenetic Repression of NaV1.7, a methodology we dub pain LATER, will have significant therapeutic potential in management of persistent pain states. Overall design: We assess gene expression changes in Neuro2a cells due to zinc-finger and CRISPR/dCas9 knockdown of SCN9A, encoding the soduim channel Nav1.7
Project description:The Nav1.7 channel represents a promising target for pain relief. In the recent decades, a number of Nav1.7 channel inhibitors have been developed. According to the effects on channel kinetics, these inhibitors could be divided into two major classes: reducing activation or enhancing inactivation. To date, however, only several inhibitors have moved forward into phase 2 clinical trials and most of them display a less than ideal analgesic efficacy, thus intensifying the controversy regarding if an ideal candidate should preferentially affect the activation or inactivation state. In the present study, we investigated the action mechanisms of a recently clinically confirmed inhibitor CNV1014802 using both electrophysiology and site-directed mutagenesis. We found that CNV1014802 inhibited Nav1.7 channels through stabilizing a nonconductive inactivated state. When the cells expressing Nav1.7 channels were hold at 70 mV or 120 mV, the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values (with 95% confidence limits) were 1.77 (1.20-2.33) and 71.66 (46.85-96.48) μmol/L, respectively. This drug caused dramatic hyperpolarizing shift of channel inactivation but did not affect activation. Moreover, CNV1014802 accelerated the onset of inactivation and delayed the recovery from inactivation. Notably, application of CNV1014802 (30 μmol/L) could rescue the Nav1.7 mutations expressed in CHO cells that cause paroxysmal extreme pain disorder (PEPD), thereby restoring the impaired inactivation to those of the wild-type channel. Our study demonstrates that CNV1014802 enhances the inactivation but does not reduce the activation of Nav1.7 channels, suggesting that identifying inhibitors that preferentially affect inactivation is a promising approach for developing drugs targeting Nav1.7.
Project description:Background: Functional deletion of the Scn9a (sodium voltage-gated channel alpha subunit 9) gene encoding sodium channel Nav1.7 makes humans and mice pain-free. Opioid signalling contributes to this analgesic state. We have used pharmacological and genetic approaches to identify the opioid receptors involved in this form of analgesia. We also examined the regulation of proenkephalin expression by the transcription factor Nfat5 that binds upstream of the Penk gene. Methods: We used specific µ-, ?- and ?-opioid receptor antagonists alone or in combination to examine which opioid receptors were necessary for Nav1.7 loss-associated analgesia in mouse behavioural assays of thermal pain. We also used µ- and ?-opioid receptor null mutant mice alone and in combination in behavioural assays to examine the role of these receptors in Nav1.7 knockouts pain free phenotype. Finally, we examined the levels of Penk mRNA in Nfat5-null mutant mice, as this transcription factor binds to consensus sequences upstream of the Penk gene. Results: The pharmacological block or deletion of both µ- and ?-opioid receptors was required to abolish Nav1.7-null opioid-related analgesia. ?-opioid receptor antagonists were without effect. Enkephalins encoded by the Penk gene are upregulated in Nav1.7 nulls. Deleting Nfat5, a transcription factor with binding motifs upstream of Penk, induces the same level of enkephalin mRNA expression as found in Nav1 .7 nulls, but without consequent analgesia. These data confirm that a combination of events linked to Scn9a gene loss is required for analgesia. Higher levels of endogenous enkephalins, potentiated opioid receptors, diminished electrical excitability and loss of neurotransmitter release together contribute to the analgesic phenotype found in Nav1.7-null mouse and human mutants. Conclusions: These observations help explain the failure of Nav1.7 channel blockers alone to produce analgesia and suggest new routes for analgesic drug development.