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Park K.D.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Park K.D.,Korea Institute of Science and Technology | Yang X.-F.,University of Arizona | Dustrude E.T.,Paul and Carole Stark Neurosciences Research Institute | And 6 more authors.
ACS Chemical Neuroscience

The functionalized amino acid, lacosamide ((R)-2), and the α-aminoamide, safinamide ((S)-3), are neurological agents that have been extensively investigated and have displayed potent anticonvulsant activities in seizure models. Both compounds have been reported to modulate voltage-gated sodium channel activity. We have prepared a series of chimeric compounds, (R)-7-(R)-10, by merging key structural units in these two clinical agents, and then compared their activities with (R)-2 and (S)-3. Compounds were assessed for their ability to alter sodium channel kinetics for inactivation, frequency (use)-dependence, and steady-state activation and fast inactivation. We report that chimeric compounds (R)-7-(R)-10 in catecholamine A-differentiated (CAD) cells and embryonic rat cortical neurons robustly enhanced sodium channel inactivation at concentrations far lower than those required for (R)-2 and (S)-3, and that (R)-9 and (R)-10, unlike (R)-2 and (S)-3, produce sodium channel frequency (use)-dependence at low micromolar concentrations. We further show that (R)-7-(R)-10 displayed excellent anticonvulsant activities and pain-attenuating properties in the animal formalin model. Of these compounds, only (R)-7 reversed mechanical hypersensitivity in the tibial-nerve injury model for neuropathic pain in rats. © 2014 American Chemical Society. Source

Khanna R.,Paul and Carole Stark Neurosciences Research Institute | Khanna R.,Indiana University | Khanna R.,Sophia Therapeutics LLC | Wilson S.M.,Paul and Carole Stark Neurosciences Research Institute | And 5 more authors.
Future Neurology

CRMP2, also known as DPYSL2/DRP2, Unc-33, Ulip or TUC2, is a cytosolic phosphoprotein that mediates axon/dendrite specification and axonal growth. Mapping the CRMP2 interactome has revealed previously unappreciated functions subserved by this protein. Together with its canonical roles in neurite growth and retraction and kinesin-dependent axonal transport, it is now known that CRMP2 interacts with numerous binding partners to affect microtubule dynamics; protein endocytosis and vesicular cycling, synaptic assembly, calcium channel regulation and neurotransmitter release. CRMP2 signaling is regulated by post-translational modifications, including glycosylation, oxidation, proteolysis and phosphorylation; the latter being a fulcrum of CRMP2 functions. Here, the putative roles of CRMP2 in a panoply of neurodegenerative, sensory and motor neuron, and central disorders are discussed and evidence is presented for therapeutic strategies targeting CRMP2 functions. © 2012 Future Medicine Ltd. Source

Federici L.M.,Paul and Carole Stark Neurosciences Research Institute | Caliman I.F.,Paul and Carole Stark Neurosciences Research Institute | Molosh A.I.,Paul and Carole Stark Neurosciences Research Institute | Truitt W.A.,Paul and Carole Stark Neurosciences Research Institute | And 4 more authors.

Distressing symptoms such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances affect over 70% of women approaching menopause for an average of 4-years, and recent large cohort studies have shown that anxiety and stress are strongly associated with more severe and persistent hot flashes and can induce hot flashes. Although high estrogen doses alleviate symptoms, extended use increases health risks, and current non-hormonal therapies are marginally better than placebo. The lack of effective non-hormonal treatments is largely due to the limited understanding of the mechanisms that underlie menopausal symptoms. One mechanistic pathway that has not been explored is the wake-promoting orexin neuropeptide system. Orexin is exclusively synthesized in the estrogen receptor rich perifornical hypothalamic region, and has an emerging role in anxiety and thermoregulation. In female rodents, estrogens tonically inhibit expression of orexin, and estrogen replacement normalizes severely elevated central orexin levels in postmenopausal women. Using an ovariectomy menopause model, we demonstrated that an anxiogenic compound elicited exacerbated hot flash-associated increases in tail skin temperature (TST, that is blocked with estrogen), and cellular responses in orexin neurons and efferent targets. Furthermore, systemic administration of centrally active, selective orexin 1 or 2 and dual receptor antagonists attenuated or blocked TST responses, respectively. This included the reformulated Suvorexant, which was recently FDA-approved for treating insomnia. Collectively, our data support the hypothesis that dramatic loss of estrogen tone during menopausal states leads to a hyperactive orexin system that contributes to symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, and more severe hot flashes. Additionally, orexin receptor antagonists may represent a novel non-hormonal therapy for treating menopausal symptoms, with minimal side effects. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Ju W.,Paul and Carole Stark Neurosciences Research Institute | Ju W.,Jilin University | Li Q.,Jilin University | Allette Y.M.,Paul and Carole Stark Neurosciences Research Institute | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Neurochemistry

The N-type voltage-gated calcium channel (CaV2.2) is a clinically endorsed target in chronic pain treatments. As directly targeting the channel can lead to multiple adverse side effects, targeting modulators of CaV2.2 may prove better. We previously identified ST1-104, a short peptide from the collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2), which disrupted the CaV2.2-CRMP2 interaction and suppressed a model of HIV-related neuropathy induced by anti-retroviral therapy but not traumatic neuropathy. Here, we report ST2-104 -a peptide wherein the cell-penetrating TAT motif has been supplanted with a homopolyarginine motif, which dose-dependently inhibits the CaV2.2-CRMP2 interaction and inhibits depolarization-evoked Ca2+ influx in sensory neurons. Ca2+ influx via activation of vanilloid receptors is not affected by either peptide. Systemic administration of ST2-104 does not affect thermal or tactile nociceptive behavioral changes. Importantly, ST2-104 transiently reduces persistent mechanical hypersensitivity induced by systemic administration of the anti-retroviral drug 2′,3′-dideoxycytidine (ddC) and following tibial nerve injury (TNI). Possible mechanistic explanations for the broader efficacy of ST2-104 are discussed. Chronic neuropathic pain remains a worldwide medical problem with few effective therapies. Drugs targeting calcium channels are in clinical use as first-line treatments for alleviation of neuropathic pain. However, targeting these channels can lead to serious complications. Here, we report that a peptide derived from CRMP2 - a modulator of calcium channels, offers problem-free pain relief in rodent models of neuropathic pain. © 2012 International Society for Neurochemistry. Source

Piekarz A.D.,950 West Walnut Street | Due M.R.,Health Information and Translational science Building | Khanna M.,Health Information and Translational science Building | Wang B.,Health Information and Translational science Building | And 13 more authors.
Molecular Pain

Background: The ubiquity of protein-protein interactions in biological signaling offers ample opportunities for therapeutic intervention. We previously identified a peptide, designated CBD3, that suppressed inflammatory and neuropathic behavioral hypersensitivity in rodents by inhibiting the ability of collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP-2) to bind to N-type voltage-activated calcium channels (CaV2.2) [Brittain et al. Nature Medicine 17:822-829 (2011)].Results and discussion: Here, we utilized SPOTScan analysis to identify an optimized variation of the CBD3 peptide (CBD3A6K) that bound with greater affinity to Ca2+ channels. Molecular dynamics simulations demonstrated that the CBD3A6K peptide was more stable and less prone to the unfolding observed with the parent CBD3 peptide. This mutant peptide, conjugated to the cell penetrating motif of the HIV transduction domain protein TAT, exhibited greater anti-nociception in a rodent model of AIDS therapy-induced peripheral neuropathy when compared to the parent TAT-CBD3 peptide. Remarkably, intraperitoneal administration of TAT-CBD3A6K produced none of the minor side effects (i.e. tail kinking, body contortion) observed with the parent peptide. Interestingly, excitability of dissociated small diameter sensory neurons isolated from rats was also reduced by TAT-CBD3A6K peptide suggesting that suppression of excitability may be due to inhibition of T- and R-type Ca2+ channels. TAT-CBD3A6K had no effect on depolarization-evoked calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP) release compared to vehicle control.Conclusions: Collectively, these results establish TAT-CBD3A6K as a peptide therapeutic with greater efficacy in an AIDS therapy-induced model of peripheral neuropathy than its parent peptide, TAT-CBD3. Structural modifications of the CBD3 scaffold peptide may result in peptides with selectivity against a particular subset of voltage-gated calcium channels resulting in a multipharmacology of action on the target. © 2012 Piekarz et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

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