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Science 290 (5489): 124-127

Copyright © 2000 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Potent Analgesic Effects of GDNF in Neuropathic Pain States

Timothy J. Boucher,1 Kenji Okuse,2 David L. H. Bennett,1* John B. Munson,1 John N. Wood,2 Stephen B. McMahon1dagger

Neuropathic pain arises as a debilitating consequence of nerve injury. The etiology of such pain is poorly understood, and existing treatment is largely ineffective. We demonstrate here that glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) both prevented and reversed sensory abnormalities that developed in neuropathic pain models, without affecting pain-related behavior in normal animals. GDNF reduces ectopic discharges within sensory neurons after nerve injury. This may arise as a consequence of the reversal by GDNF of the injury-induced plasticity of several sodium channel subunits. Together these findings provide a rational basis for the use of GDNF as a therapeutic treatment for neuropathic pain states.

1 Centre for Neuroscience Research, King's College London, London SE1 7EH, UK.
2 Department of Biology, University College London, London, WC1E 6BT UK.
*   Present address: Department of Medicine, University College Hospital, London WC1E 6AU, UK.

dagger    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: stephen.mcmahon{at}kcl.ac.uk


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