Background and purpose: Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are a superfamily of non-selective cation permeable channels involved in peripheral sensory signalling. Animal studies have shown that several TRPs are important players in pain modulation. Among them, the TRP melastatin 8 (TRPM8) has elicited more interest for its controversial role in nociception. This channel, expressed by a subpopulation of sensory neurons in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and trigeminal ganglia (TG), is activated by cold temperatures and cooling agents. In experimental neuropathic pain models, an up-regulation of this receptor in DRG and TG has been observed, suggesting a key role for TRPM8 in the development and maintenance of pain. Consistent with this hypothesis, TRPM8 knockout mice are less responsive to pain stimuli.
Experimental approach: In this study, the therapeutic potential and efficacy of two novel TRPM8 antagonists, DFL23693 and DFL23448, were tested.
Key results: Two potent and selective TRPM8 antagonists with distinct pharmacokinetic profiles, DFL23693 and DFL23448, have been fully characterized in vitro. In vivo studies in well-established models, namely, the wet-dog shaking test and changes in body temperature, confirmed their ability to block the TRPM8 channel. Finally, TRPM8 blockage resulted in a significant antinociceptive effect in formalin-induced orofacial pain and in chronic constriction injury-induced neuropathic pain, confirming an important role for this channel in pain perception.
Conclusion and implications: Our findings, in agreement with previous literature, encourage further studies for a better comprehension of the therapeutic potential of TRPM8 blockers as novel agents for pain management.
© 2018 The British Pharmacological Society.