Background and Purpose: Patients with irritable bowel syndrome suffer from chronic visceral pain (CVP) and limited analgesic therapeutic options are currently available. We have shown that α-conotoxin Vc1.1 induced activation of GABAB receptors on the peripheral endings of colonic afferents and reduced nociceptive signalling from the viscera. However, the analgesic efficacy of more stable, cyclized versions of Vc1.1 on CVP remains to be determined.
Experimental Approach: Using ex vivo colonic afferent preparations from mice, we determined the inhibitory actions of cyclized Vc1.1 (cVc1.1) and two cVc1.1 analogues on mouse colonic nociceptors in healthy and chronic visceral hypersensitivity (CVH) states. Using whole-cell patch clamp recordings, we also assessed the inhibitory actions of these peptides on the neuronal excitability of colonic innervating dorsal root ganglion neurons. In vivo, the analgesic efficacy of these analogues was assessed by determining the visceromotor response to colorectal distension in healthy and CVH mice.
Key Results: cVc1.1 and the cVc1.1 analogues, [C2H,C8F]cVc1.1 and [N9W] cVc1.1, all caused concentration-dependent inhibition of colonic nociceptors from healthy mice. Inhibition by these peptides was greater than those evoked by linear Vc1.1 and was substantially greater in colonic nociceptors from CVH mice. cVc1.1 also reduced excitability of colonic dorsal root ganglion neurons, with greater effect in CVH neurons. CVH mice treated with cVc1.1 intra-colonically displayed reduced pain responses to noxious colorectal distension compared with vehicle-treated CVH mice.
Conclusions and Implications: Cyclic versions of Vc1.1 evoked significant anti-nociceptive actions in CVH states, suggesting that they could be novel candidates for treatment of CVP.