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Neuropharmacology. 2009 Feb;56(2):556-63. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2008.10.008. Epub 2008 Oct 26.

Antinociceptive effects of the marine snail peptides conantokin-G and conotoxin MVIIA alone and in combination in rat models of pain.

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  • 1The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, 1095 NW 14th Terrace, R-48, Miami, FL 33136, USA. ahama@med.miami.edu


There are a number of neurologically active ion channel blocking peptides derived from cone snail venom, such as conantokin-G and omega-conotoxin MVIIA. Conantokin-G inhibits NMDA receptors containing the NR2B subunit whereas omega-conotoxin MVIIA blocks N-type Ca(2+) channels. Separately, these peptides induce antinociceptive effects in pre-clinical pain models following intrathecal injection. In the current study, the efficacies of these peptides were determined separately and in combination by intrathecal injection into rats with a spinal nerve ligation, in rats with a spinal cord compression injury and in the formalin test. Separately, both conantokin-G and omega-conotoxin MVIIA dose-dependently attenuated nociceptive responses in all of these models. However, at high antinociceptive doses for both formalin and nerve injury models, omega-conotoxin MVIIA evoked untoward side effects. Using isobolographic analysis, the combination of sub-antinociceptive doses of peptides demonstrated additive antinociception in rats with a nerve ligation and in the formalin test, without apparent adverse side effects. In a model of neuropathic spinal cord injury pain, which is clinically difficult to treat, the combination of conantokin-G and omega-conotoxin MVIIA resulted in robust synergistic antinociception. These data suggest that a combination of these peptides may be analgesic across diverse clinical pains with limited untoward side effects, and particularly potent for reducing spinal cord injury pain.

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