UC Davis team finds a prime drug candidate for neuropathic pain

Neuropathic pain has been linked closely to microglia, immune cells in the spinal cord which are known to release cytokines and other chemicals including nitrous oxide in the wake of peripheral nerve damage. A team of UC Davis researchers says that inhibiting nitrous oxide at the time that nerve damage is done could prevent neuropathic pain from occurring later. And they've found a compound that they say is very effective at doing just that.

The compound is 6-chloro-8-(glycinyl)-amino-β-carbolin, or 8-Gly carb, which belongs to a class of compounds known to blunt nitrous oxide. The team says that this compound is significantly better at that task than any other known compound. And it appears to do its work without blocking cytokine expression.

Neuropathic pain often doesn't begin until well after physical trauma. And once it does begin it can linger for years as the brain is believed to be misinterpreting nerve signals from the site of the damage.

Fredric Gorin

"A compound like 8-Gly carb that selectively targets nitrous oxide production and does not block cytokine expression makes a promising candidate for drug development aimed at preventing a neuropathic pain syndrome without interfering with recovery," said Fredric Gorin, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Neurology and co-principal investigator for the study.

Now new preclinical work is being planned that could set the stage for clinical studies.

- here's the release