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      Ferulic acid dimer as a non-opioid therapeutic for acute pain

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          Search for alternate pain medications has gained more importance in the past few years due to adverse effects associated with currently prescribed drugs including nervous system dysfunction with opioids, gastrointestinal discomfort with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and cardiovascular anomalies with cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors. Phytomedicine has been explored for the treatment of pain, as these have been used for generations in regional communities and tend to lack major side effects in general. One such phytomedicine, incarvillateine (INCA), derived from the Chinese herb Incarvillea sinensis has its primary antinociceptive action through the adenosine receptor, a novel pain target. We hypothesized that derivatives of cinnamic acid dimers, which are structurally similar to INCA, would show potent antinociceptive action and that their effect would be mediated through adenosine receptor action.

          Materials and methods

          Dimers of cinnamic acid (INCA analogs) were synthesized using cavitand-mediated photodimerization (CMP) method, which utilizes a macromolecule (γ-cyclodextrin) to control excited state reactivity of photoactive compounds. Acute pain response was assessed by using formalin-induced licking behavior in hind paw of mice, and neurologic function was monitored through locomotor activity, mechanical hyperalgesia, and thermal sensitivity upon administration of test compound. For mechanistic studies, binding to adenosine receptor was determined by using computer modeling.


          Ferulic acid dimer (FAD), which has the same chemical functionalities on the aromatic ring as INCA, showed significant suppression of formalin-induced acute pain. Antinociceptive effect was observed primarily in the inflammatory phase, and no apparent behavioral changes related to the nervous system were noticeable. Inhibition of opioid receptor did not reverse antinociceptive response, and modeling data suggest adenosine 3 receptor binding.


          FAD (INCA analog) shows potent nonopioid antinociceptive action mediated predominantly through A 3AR – adenosine 3 receptor action. Further characterization and selection of such INCA analogs will help us generate a new class of antinociceptives with precise chemical modifications by using CMP methodology.

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          Most cited references 34

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          A new and sensitive method for measuring thermal nociception in cutaneous hyperalgesia.

          A method to measure cutaneous hyperalgesia to thermal stimulation in unrestrained animals is described. The testing paradigm uses an automated detection of the behavioral end-point; repeated testing does not contribute to the development of the observed hyperalgesia. Carrageenan-induced inflammation resulted in significantly shorter paw withdrawal latencies as compared to saline-treated paws and these latency changes corresponded to a decreased thermal nociceptive threshold. Both the thermal method and the Randall-Selitto mechanical method detected dose-related hyperalgesia and its blockade by either morphine or indomethacin. However, the thermal method showed greater bioassay sensitivity and allowed for the measurement of other behavioral parameters in addition to the nociceptive threshold.
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            Small-molecule library screening by docking with PyRx.

            Virtual molecular screening is used to dock small-molecule libraries to a macromolecule in order to find lead compounds with desired biological function. This in silico method is well known for its application in computer-aided drug design. This chapter describes how to perform small-molecule virtual screening by docking with PyRx, which is open-source software with an intuitive user interface that runs on all major operating systems (Linux, Windows, and Mac OS). Specific steps for using PyRx, as well as considerations for data preparation, docking, and data analysis, are also described.
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              Adenosine receptors as drug targets--what are the challenges?

              Adenosine signalling has long been a target for drug development, with adenosine itself or its derivatives being used clinically since the 1940s. In addition, methylxanthines such as caffeine have profound biological effects as antagonists at adenosine receptors. Moreover, drugs such as dipyridamole and methotrexate act by enhancing the activation of adenosine receptors. There is strong evidence that adenosine has a functional role in many diseases, and several pharmacological compounds specifically targeting individual adenosine receptors--either directly or indirectly--have now entered the clinic. However, only one adenosine receptor-specific agent--the adenosine A2A receptor agonist regadenoson (Lexiscan; Astellas Pharma)--has so far gained approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Here, we focus on the biology of adenosine signalling to identify hurdles in the development of additional pharmacological compounds targeting adenosine receptors and discuss strategies to overcome these challenges.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                06 June 2018
                : 11
                : 1075-1085
                [1 ]Department of Biology, University of Nebraska-Kearney, Kearney, NE, USA
                [2 ]Department of Anesthesiology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA
                [3 ]Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA
                [4 ]Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M University, TX, USA
                [5 ]Department of Chemistry, University of Nebraska-Kearney, Kearney, NE, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Surabhi Chandra, Department of Biology, University of Nebraska-Kearney, 2401 W. 11th Ave, BHS335, Kearney, NE 68849, USA, Tel +1 308 865 8661, Fax +1 308 865 8045, Email chandras2@ 123456unk.edu

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2018 Priebe et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Anesthesiology & Pain management

                adenosine, incarvillateine, cinnamic acid, formalin, antinociceptive


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