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Brain Res. 2006 Feb 23;1075(1):68-80. Epub 2006 Feb 3.

Calcium channel alpha2-delta type 1 subunit is the major binding protein for pregabalin in neocortex, hippocampus, amygdala, and spinal cord: an ex vivo autoradiographic study in alpha2-delta type 1 genetically modified mice.

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Department of CNS Biology, Pfizer Global Research and Development, Ann Arbor Laboratories, 2800 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA.


Pregabalin is a synthetic amino acid compound effective in clinical trials for the treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, generalized anxiety disorder and adjunctive therapy for partial seizures of epilepsy. However, the mechanisms by which pregabalin exerts its therapeutic effects are not yet completely understood. In vitro studies have shown that pregabalin binds with high affinity to the alpha(2)-delta (alpha(2)-delta) subunits (Type 1 and 2) of voltage-gated calcium channels. To assess whether alpha(2)-delta Type 1 is the major central nervous system (CNS) binding protein for pregabalin in vivo, a mutant mouse with an arginine-to-alanine mutation at amino acid 217 of the alpha(2)-delta Type 1 protein (R217A mutation) was generated. Previous site-directed mutagenesis studies revealed that the R217A mutation dramatically reduces alpha(2)-delta 1 binding to pregabalin in vitro. In this autoradiographic analysis of R217A mice, we show that the mutation to alpha(2)-delta Type 1 substantially reduces specific pregabalin binding in CNS regions that are known to preferentially express the alpha(2)-delta Type 1 protein, notably the neocortex, hippocampus, basolateral amygdala and spinal cord. In mutant mice, pregabalin binding was robust throughout regions where the alpha(2)-delta Type 2 subunit mRNA is abundant, such as cerebellum. These findings, in conjunction with prior in vitro binding data, provide evidence that the alpha(2)-delta Type 1 subunit of voltage-gated calcium channels is the major binding protein for pregabalin in CNS. Moreover, the distinct localization of alpha(2)-delta Type 1 and mutation-resistant binding (assumed to be alpha(2)-delta Type 2) in brain areas subserving different functions suggests that identification of subunit-specific ligands could further enhance pharmacologic specificity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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