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J Pain. 2001 Dec;2(6):326-33.

Systemic administration of CNI-1493, a p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitor, blocks intrathecal human immunodeficiency virus-1 gp120-induced enhanced pain states in rats.

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Department of Psychology and Center for Neurosciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, 80309, USA.


Intrathecal administration of the human immunodeficiency virus-1 envelope glycoprotein, gp120, activates astrocytes and microglia to release products that induce thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia. Both pain states are disrupted by intrathecal CNI-1493, a p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase inhibitor. Whether CNI-1493, or any other p38 MAP kinase inhibitor, can cross the blood-brain barrier to affect spinal cord function is unknown. Given that several such drugs are in clinical trials, it is of interest to determine whether they may be potentially useful in treating centrally mediated pain. The aim of the present studies was to determine whether systemic CNI-1493 could block intrathecal gp120-induced thermal hyperalgesia and/or mechanical allodynia. Because p38 MAP kinase inhibition would be expected to prevent proinflammatory cytokine release and/or signal transduction, we sought to determine from the same animals the likely mechanism by which CNI-1493 blocks gp120-induced pain states. These studies show that systemic CNI-1493 blocks intrathecal gp120-induced thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia. Because CNI-1493 did not block proinflammatory cytokine release, this may suggest disruption at the level of signal transduction. These studies provide the first evidence that systemic p38 MAP kinase inhibitors can prevent centrally mediated exaggerated pain states. Thus, CNI-1493 may provide a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of pain.


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