Chemotherapeutic drugs are widely utilized in the treatment of human cancers. Painful chemotherapy-induced neuropathy is a common, debilitating, and dose-limiting side effect for which there is currently no effective treatment. Previous studies have demonstrated the potential utility of peptides from the marine snail from the genus Conus
for the treatment of neuropathic pain. α-Conotoxin RgIA and a potent analog, RgIA4, have previously been shown to prevent the development of neuropathy resulting from the administration of oxaliplatin, a platinum-based antineoplastic drug. Here, we have examined its efficacy against paclitaxel, a chemotherapeutic drug that works by a mechanism of action distinct from that of oxaliplatin. Paclitaxel was administered at 2 mg/kg (intraperitoneally (IP)) every other day for a total of 8 mg/kg. Sprague Dawley rats that were co-administered RgIA4 at 80 µg/kg (subcutaneously (SC)) once daily, five times per week, for three weeks showed significant recovery from mechanical allodynia by day 31. Notably, the therapeutic effects reached significance 12 days after the last administration of RgIA4, which is suggestive of a rescue mechanism. These findings support the effects of RgIA4 in multiple chemotherapeutic models and the investigation of α9α10 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) as a non-opioid target in the treatment of chronic pain.
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