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Toxins 2015, 7(11), 4519-4563; doi:10.3390/toxins7114519

Current Status and Future Directions of Botulinum Neurotoxins for Targeting Pain Processing

Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin, 6340 Microbial Sciences Building, 1550 Linden Dr., Madison, WI 53706, USA
Department of Anesthesiology 0818, University of California, 214 Dickinson St., San Diego, CA 92103, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Bahman Jabbari
Received: 31 July 2015 / Revised: 29 September 2015 / Accepted: 19 October 2015 / Published: 4 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Collection Botulinum Toxins on Human Pain)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1186 KB, uploaded 4 November 2015]   |  


Current evidence suggests that botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) A1 and B1, given locally into peripheral tissues such as skin, muscles, and joints, alter nociceptive processing otherwise initiated by inflammation or nerve injury in animal models and humans. Recent data indicate that such locally delivered BoNTs exert not only local action on sensory afferent terminals but undergo transport to central afferent cell bodies (dorsal root ganglia) and spinal dorsal horn terminals, where they cleave SNAREs and block transmitter release. Increasing evidence supports the possibility of a trans-synaptic movement to alter postsynaptic function in neuronal and possibly non-neuronal (glial) cells. The vast majority of these studies have been conducted on BoNT/A1 and BoNT/B1, the only two pharmaceutically developed variants. However, now over 40 different subtypes of botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) have been identified. By combining our existing and rapidly growing understanding of BoNT/A1 and /B1 in altering nociceptive processing with explorations of the specific characteristics of the various toxins from this family, we may be able to discover or design novel, effective, and long-lasting pain therapeutics. This review will focus on our current understanding of the molecular mechanisms whereby BoNTs alter pain processing, and future directions in the development of these agents as pain therapeutics. View Full-Text
Keywords: pain; botulinum neurotoxin; BoNT; spinal cord; primary afferent; glia; neurotransmitter; SNAREs pain; botulinum neurotoxin; BoNT; spinal cord; primary afferent; glia; neurotransmitter; SNAREs

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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Pellett, S.; Yaksh, T.L.; Ramachandran, R. Current Status and Future Directions of Botulinum Neurotoxins for Targeting Pain Processing. Toxins 2015, 7, 4519-4563.

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