Efficacy of antiepileptic tetramethylcyclopropyl analogues of valproic acid amides in a rat model of neuropathic pain

Neuropharmacology. 2005 Dec;49(8):1110-20. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2005.06.008. Epub 2005 Aug 1.


Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are widely utilized in the management of neuropathic pain. The AED valproic acid (VPA) holds out particular promise as it engages a variety of different anticonvulsant mechanisms simultaneously. However, the clinical use of VPA is limited by two rare but potentially life-threatening side effects: teratogenicity and hepatotoxicity. We have synthesized several tetramethylcyclopropyl analogues of VPA amides that are non-teratogenic, and are likely to be non-hepatotoxic, and that exhibit good antiepileptic efficacy. In the present study we have assessed the antiallodynic activity of these compounds in comparison to VPA and gabapentin (GBP) using the rat spinal nerve ligation (SNL) model of neuropathic pain. TMCA (2,2,3,3-tetramethylcyclopropanecarboxylic acid, 100-250 mg/kg), TMCD (2,2,3,3-tetramethylcyclopropanecarboxamide, 40-150 mg/kg), MTMCD (N-methyl-TMCD, 20-100 mg/kg), and TMCU (2,2,3,3-tetramethylcyclopropanecarbonylurea, 40-240 mg/kg) all showed dose-related reversal of tactile allodynia, with ED(50) values of 181, 85, 41, and 171 mg/kg i.p., respectively. All were more potent than VPA (ED(50)=269 mg/kg). An antiallodynic effect was obtained for TMCD, MTMCD and TMCU at plasma concentrations as low as 23, 6 and 22 mg/L, respectively. MTMCD was found to be non-toxic, non-sedative and equipotent to gabapentin, currently the leading AED in neuropathic pain treatment. Tetramethylcyclopropyl analogues of VPA amides have potential to become a new series of drugs for neuropathic pain treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacokinetics
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Male
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / complications*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Postural Balance / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Valproic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Valproic Acid / chemical synthesis
  • Valproic Acid / therapeutic use*


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Valproic Acid