Chemokine signaling is important in neuropathic pain, with microglial cells expressing CCR2 playing a well-established key role. DAPTA, a HIV gp120-derived CCR5 entry inhibitor, has been shown to inhibit CCR5-mediated monocyte migration and to attenuate neuroinflammation. We report here that as a stabilized analog of DAPTA, the short peptide RAP-103 exhibits potent antagonism for both CCR2 (half maximal inhibitory concentration [IC50] 4.2 pM) and CCR5 (IC50 0.18 pM) in monocyte chemotaxis. Oral administration of RAP-103 (0.05-1 mg/kg) for 7 days fully prevents mechanical allodynia and inhibits the development of thermal hyperalgesia after partial ligation of the sciatic nerve in rats. Administered from days 8 to 12, RAP-103 (0.2-1 mg/kg) reverses already established hypersensitivity. RAP-103 relieves behavioral hypersensitivity, probably through either or both CCR2 and CCR5 blockade, because by using genetically deficient animals, we demonstrated that in addition to CCR2, CCR5 is also required for the development of neuropathic pain. Moreover, RAP-103 is able to reduce spinal microglial activation and monocyte infiltration, and to inhibit inflammatory responses evoked by peripheral nerve injury that cause chronic pain. Our findings suggest that targeting CCR2/CCR5 should provide greater efficacy than targeting CCR2 or CCR5 alone, and that dual CCR2/CCR5 antagonist RAP-103 has the potential for broad clinical use in neuropathic pain treatment.
Copyright © 2011 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.