Research ArticlePain

Selective neuronal silencing using synthetic botulinum molecules alleviates chronic pain in mice

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Science Translational Medicine  18 Jul 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 450, eaar7384
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aar7384

Relieving pain with botox

Chronic pain affects more than 25 million Americans and is associated with reduced life span, anxiety, and depression. Opioid administration is often effective in relieving pain but, unfortunately, opioids have serious side effects, including risk of addiction and overdose. In a new study, Maiarù et al. have leveraged the inhibitory effects of botulinum toxin on neuronal activity. They developed two botulinum-conjugated molecules (SP-BOT and Derm-BOT) that were able to silence subpopulations of pain-related spinal neurons in several mouse models of chronic pain. Intrathecal administration of one dose of SP-BOT or Derm-BOT produced long-term pain relief in the mouse models that was comparable to the effects of opioid treatment. The results suggest that botulinum-conjugated molecules could be an opioid-free alternative for treating chronic pain.

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