Preventative and therapeutic effects of a GABA transporter 1 inhibitor administered systemically in a mouse model of paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain

PeerJ. 2016 Dec 15:4:e2798. doi: 10.7717/peerj.2798. eCollection 2016.


Background: There is a dearth of drugs to manage a dose-limiting painful peripheral neuropathy induced by paclitaxel in some patients during the treatment of cancer. Gamma-aminobutyric acid transporter-1 (GAT-1) whose expression is increased in the brain and spinal cord during paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain (PINP) might be a potential therapeutic target for managing PINP. Thus, our aim was to evaluate if systemic administration of a GAT-1 inhibitor ameliorates PINP.

Methods: The reaction latency to thermal stimuli (hot plate test; at 55 °C) and cold stimuli (cold plate test; at 4 °C) of female BALB/c mice was recorded before and after intraperitoneal treatment with paclitaxel, its vehicle, and/or a selective GAT-1 inhibitor NO-711. The effects of NO-711 on motor coordination were evaluated using the rotarod test at a constant speed of 4 rpm or accelerating mode from 4 rpm to 40 rpm over 5 min.

Results: The coadministration of paclitaxel with NO-711 3 mg/kg prevented the development of paclitaxel-induced thermal hyperalgesia and cold allodynia at day 7 after drug treatment. NO-711 at 3 mg/kg produced antihyperalgesic activity up to 1 h and antiallodynic activity up to 2 h in mice with established paclitaxel-induced thermal hyperalgesia and cold allodynia. No motor deficits were observed with NO-711 at a dose of 3 mg/kg, whereas a higher dose 5 mg/kg caused motor impairment and reduced mean time spent on the rotarod at a constant speed of 4 rpm. However, at a rotarod accelerating mode from 4 rpm to 40 rpm over 5 min, NO-711 3 mg/kg caused motor impairment up to 1 h, but had recovered by 2 h.

Conclusions: These results show that systemic administration of the GAT-1 inhibitor NO-711 has preventative and therapeutic activity against paclitaxel-induced thermal hyperalgesia and cold allodynia. NO-711's antiallodynic effects, but not antihyperalgesic effects, were independent of its motor impairment/sedation properties. Thus, low doses of GAT-1 inhibitors could be useful for the prevention and treatment of PINP with proper dose titration to reduce motor impairment/sedation side effects.

Keywords: Allodynia; Chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain; GABA transporter (GAT); GAT-1 inhibitor; Hyperalgesia; Motor coordination; Paclitaxel; Preventative treatment; Therapeutic treatment.

Grants and funding

This study was supported by grant PT01/15 from Kuwait University Research Sector. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.