The Anticonvulsant Retigabine Attenuates Nociceptive Behaviours in Rat Models of Persistent and Neuropathic Pain

Eur J Pharmacol. 2003 Jan 24;460(2-3):109-16. doi: 10.1016/s0014-2999(02)02924-2.


We have tested for anti-nociceptive effects of the anticonvulsant KCNQ channel opener, N-(2-amino-4-(4-fluorobenzylamino)-phenyl)carbamic acid ethyl ester (retigabine), in rat models of experimental pain. In the chronic constriction injury and spared nerve models of neuropathic pain, injection of retigabine (5 and 20 mg/kg, p.o.) significantly attenuated (P<0.05) mechanical hypersensitivity in response to pin prick stimulation of the injured hindpaw. In contrast, retigabine had no effect on mechanical hypersensitivity to von Frey stimulation of the injured hindpaw in either model. Cold sensitivity in response to ethyl chloride was only attenuated (P<0.05) in the chronic constriction injury model. In the formalin test, retigabine (20 mg/kg, p.o.) attenuated flinching behaviour in the second phase compared with vehicle (P<0.05), and this effect was completely reversed by the KCNQ channel blocker 10,10-bis(4-pyridinylmethyl)-9(10H)-anthracenone (XE-991; 3 mg/kg, i.p.). Neither retigabine nor XE-991 administration affected the latency to respond to noxious thermal stimulation of the tail in control animals. These results suggest that retigabine may prove to be effective in the treatment of neuropathic pain.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthracenes / pharmacology
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacology*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Carbamates / pharmacology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Hindlimb / drug effects
  • Hindlimb / innervation
  • Male
  • Neuralgia / prevention & control*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Phenylenediamines / pharmacology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Time Factors


  • 10,10-bis(4-pyridinylmethyl)-9(10H)-anthracenone
  • Anthracenes
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Carbamates
  • Phenylenediamines
  • ezogabine