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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2015 Oct;137:23-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2015.07.014. Epub 2015 Jul 31.

R-phenibut binds to the α2-δ subunit of voltage-dependent calcium channels and exerts gabapentin-like anti-nociceptive effects.

Author information

1
Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, Aizkraukles 21, Riga, LV-1006, Latvia. Electronic address: liga@biomed.lu.lv.
2
Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, Aizkraukles 21, Riga, LV-1006, Latvia; Riga Stradins University, Dzirciema 16, Riga, LV-1007, Latvia.
3
Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, Aizkraukles 21, Riga, LV-1006, Latvia.
4
JSC Olain Farm, Rupnicu 5, Olaine, LV-2114, Latvia.

Abstract

Phenibut is clinically used anxiolytic, mood elevator and nootropic drug. R-phenibut is responsible for the pharmacological activity of racemic phenibut, and this activity correlates with its binding affinity for GABAB receptors. In contrast, S-phenibut does not bind to GABAB receptors. In this study, we assessed the binding affinities of R-phenibut, S-phenibut, baclofen and gabapentin (GBP) for the α2-δ subunit of the voltage-dependent calcium channel (VDCC) using a subunit-selective ligand, radiolabelled GBP. Binding experiments using rat brain membrane preparations revealed that the equilibrium dissociation constants (Kis) for R-phenibut, S-phenibut, baclofen and GBP were 23, 39, 156 and 0.05μM, respectively. In the pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced seizure test, we found that at doses up to 100mg/kg, R-phenibut did not affect PTZ-induced seizures. The anti-nociceptive effects of R-phenibut were assessed using the formalin-induced paw-licking test and the chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve model. Pre-treatment with R-phenibut dose-dependently decreased the nociceptive response during both phases of the test. The anti-nociceptive effects of R-phenibut in the formalin-induced paw-licking test were not blocked by the GABAB receptor-selective antagonist CGP35348. In addition, treatment with R- and S-phenibut alleviated the mechanical and thermal allodynia induced by CCI of the sciatic nerve. Our data suggest that the binding affinity of R-phenibut for the α2-δ subunit of the VDCC is 4 times higher than its affinity for the GABAB receptor. The anti-nociceptive effects of R-phenibut observed in the tests of formalin-induced paw licking and CCI of the sciatic nerve were associated with its effect on the α2-δ subunit of the VDCC rather than with its effects on GABAB receptors. In conclusion, our results provide experimental evidence for GBP-like, anti-nociceptive properties of R-phenibut, which might be used clinically to treat neuropathic pain disorders.

KEYWORDS:

CCI of the sciatic nerve; CGP35348; Formalin-induced paw-licking test; Gabapentin; R-phenibut; The α(2)-δ subunit of the voltage-dependent calcium channel

PMID:
26234470
DOI:
10.1016/j.pbb.2015.07.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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