Toxins 2012, 4(11), 1236-1260; doi:10.3390/toxins4111236
Review

Conotoxins Targeting Neuronal Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Subtypes: Potential Analgesics?

Received: 10 October 2012; in revised form: 5 November 2012 / Accepted: 5 November 2012 / Published: 8 November 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Toxins Targeting Ion Channels Involved in Pain)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSC) are the primary mediators of electrical signal amplification and propagation in excitable cells. VGSC subtypes are diverse, with different biophysical and pharmacological properties, and varied tissue distribution. Altered VGSC expression and/or increased VGSC activity in sensory neurons is characteristic of inflammatory and neuropathic pain states. Therefore, VGSC modulators could be used in prospective analgesic compounds. VGSCs have specific binding sites for four conotoxin families: μ-, μO-, δ- and ί-conotoxins. Various studies have identified that the binding site of these peptide toxins is restricted to well-defined areas or domains. To date, only the μ- and μO-family exhibit analgesic properties in animal pain models. This review will focus on conotoxins from the μ- and μO-families that act on neuronal VGSCs. Examples of how these conotoxins target various pharmacologically important neuronal ion channels, as well as potential problems with the development of drugs from conotoxins, will be discussed.
Keywords: voltage-gated sodium channel; Nav1.3; Nav1.7; Nav1.8; Nav1.9; m-conotoxin; mO-conotoxin; nociception; analgesic; pain
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MDPI and ACS Style

Knapp, O.; McArthur, J.R.; Adams, D.J. Conotoxins Targeting Neuronal Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Subtypes: Potential Analgesics? Toxins 2012, 4, 1236-1260.

AMA Style

Knapp O, McArthur JR, Adams DJ. Conotoxins Targeting Neuronal Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Subtypes: Potential Analgesics? Toxins. 2012; 4(11):1236-1260.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Knapp, Oliver; McArthur, Jeffrey R.; Adams, David J. 2012. "Conotoxins Targeting Neuronal Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Subtypes: Potential Analgesics?" Toxins 4, no. 11: 1236-1260.

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