A Novel Small Molecule GDNF Receptor RET Agonist, BT13, Promotes Neurite Growth from Sensory Neurons in Vitro and Attenuates Experimental Neuropathy in the Rat
AuthorSidorova, YA; Bespalov, MM; Wong, AW; Kambur, O; Jokinen, V; Lilius, TO; Suleymanova, I; Karelson, G; Rauhala, PV; Karelson, M; ...
Source TitleFrontiers in Pharmacology
PublisherFRONTIERS MEDIA SA
AffiliationAnatomy and Neuroscience
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsSidorova, Y. A., Bespalov, M. M., Wong, A. W., Kambur, O., Jokinen, V., Lilius, T. O., Suleymanova, I., Karelson, G., Rauhala, P. V., Karelson, M., Osborne, P. B., Keast, J. R., Kalso, E. A. & Saarma, M. (2017). A Novel Small Molecule GDNF Receptor RET Agonist, BT13, Promotes Neurite Growth from Sensory Neurons in Vitro and Attenuates Experimental Neuropathy in the Rat. FRONTIERS IN PHARMACOLOGY, 8 (JUN), https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2017.00365.
Access StatusOpen Access
Neuropathic pain caused by nerve damage is a common and severe class of chronic pain. Disease-modifying clinical therapies are needed as current treatments typically provide only symptomatic relief; show varying clinical efficacy; and most have significant adverse effects. One approach is targeting either neurotrophic factors or their receptors that normalize sensory neuron function and stimulate regeneration after nerve damage. Two candidate targets are glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and artemin (ARTN), as these GDNF family ligands (GFLs) show efficacy in animal models of neuropathic pain (Boucher et al., 2000; Gardell et al., 2003; Wang et al., 2008, 2014). As these protein ligands have poor drug-like properties and are expensive to produce for clinical use, we screened 18,400 drug-like compounds to develop small molecules that act similarly to GFLs (GDNF mimetics). This screening identified BT13 as a compound that selectively targeted GFL receptor RET to activate downstream signaling cascades. BT13 was similar to NGF and ARTN in selectively promoting neurite outgrowth from the peptidergic class of adult sensory neurons in culture, but was opposite to ARTN in causing neurite elongation without affecting initiation. When administered after spinal nerve ligation in a rat model of neuropathic pain, 20 and 25 mg/kg of BT13 decreased mechanical hypersensitivity and normalized expression of sensory neuron markers in dorsal root ganglia. In control rats, BT13 had no effect on baseline mechanical or thermal sensitivity, motor coordination, or weight gain. Thus, small molecule BT13 selectively activates RET and offers opportunities for developing novel disease-modifying medications to treat neuropathic pain.
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