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Mol Pharmacol. 2012 Mar;81(3):488-97. doi: 10.1124/mol.111.075226. Epub 2011 Dec 21.

Characterization of the substituted N-triazole oxindole TROX-1, a small-molecule, state-dependent inhibitor of Ca(V)2 calcium channels.

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Department of Ion Channels, Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, New Jersey, USA.


Biological, genetic, and clinical evidence provide validation for N-type calcium channels (Ca(V)2.2) as therapeutic targets for chronic pain. A state-dependent Ca(V)2.2 inhibitor may provide an improved therapeutic window over ziconotide, the peptidyl Ca(V)2.2 inhibitor used clinically. Supporting this notion, we recently reported that in preclinical models, the state-dependent Ca(V)2 inhibitor (3R)-5-(3-chloro-4-fluorophenyl)-3-methyl-3-(pyrimidin-5-ylmethyl)-1-(1H-1,2,4-triazol-3-yl)-1,3-dihydro-2H-indol-2-one (TROX-1) has an improved therapeutic window compared with ziconotide. Here we characterize TROX-1 inhibition of Cav2.2 channels in more detail. When channels are biased toward open/inactivated states by depolarizing the membrane potential under voltage-clamp electrophysiology, TROX-1 inhibits Ca(V)2.2 channels with an IC(50) of 0.11 μM. The voltage dependence of Ca(V)2.2 inhibition was examined using automated electrophysiology. TROX-1 IC(50) values were 4.2, 0.90, and 0.36 μM at -110, -90, and -70 mV, respectively. TROX-1 displayed use-dependent inhibition of Ca(V)2.2 with a 10-fold IC(50) separation between first (27 μM) and last (2.7 μM) pulses in a train. In a fluorescence-based calcium influx assay, TROX-1 inhibited Ca(V)2.2 channels with an IC(50) of 9.5 μM under hyperpolarized conditions and 0.69 μM under depolarized conditions. Finally, TROX-1 potency was examined across the Ca(V)2 subfamily. Depolarized IC(50) values were 0.29, 0.19, and 0.28 μM by manual electrophysiology using matched conditions and 1.8, 0.69, and 1.1 μM by calcium influx for Ca(V)2.1, Ca(V)2.2, and Ca(V)2.3, respectively. Together, these in vitro data support the idea that a state-dependent, non-subtype-selective Ca(V)2 channel inhibitor can achieve an improved therapeutic window over the relatively state-independent Ca(V)2.2-selective inhibitor ziconotide in preclinical models of chronic pain.

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