Novel Functionalized Amino Acids as Inhibitors of GABA Transporters with Analgesic Activity

ACS Chem Neurosci. 2021 Aug 18;12(16):3073-3100. doi: 10.1021/acschemneuro.1c00351. Epub 2021 Aug 4.


Neuropathic pain resistance to pharmacotherapy has encouraged researchers to develop effective therapies for its treatment. γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) transporters 1 and 4 (mGAT1 and mGAT4) have been increasingly recognized as promising drug targets for neuropathic pain (NP) associated with imbalances in inhibitory neurotransmission. In this context, we designed and synthesized new functionalized amino acids as inhibitors of GABA uptake and assessed their activities toward all four mouse GAT subtypes (mGAT1-4). According to the obtained results, compounds 2RS,4RS-39c (pIC50 (mGAT4) = 5.36), 50a (pIC50 (mGAT2) = 5.43), and 56a (with moderate subtype selectivity that favored mGAT4, pIC50 (mGAT4) = 5.04) were of particular interest and were therefore evaluated for their cytotoxic and hepatotoxic effects. In a set of in vivo experiments, both compounds 50a and 56a showed antinociceptive properties in three rodent models of NP, namely, chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain models (the oxaliplatin model and the paclitaxel model) and the diabetic neuropathic pain model induced by streptozotocin; however compound 56a demonstrated predominant activity. Since impaired motor coordination is also observed in neuropathic pain conditions, we have pointed out that none of the test compounds induced motor deficits in the rotarod test.

Keywords: GABA transporters; [3H]GABA uptake; antiallodynic activity; antihyperalgesic activity; mGAT1−4 inhibitors; neuropathic pain models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids*
  • Analgesics / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • GABA Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Mice
  • Neuralgia* / drug therapy
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid


  • Amino Acids
  • Analgesics
  • GABA Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid