A novel inhibitor of active protein kinase G attenuates chronic inflammatory and osteoarthritic pain

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Activating PKG-1α induces a long-term hyperexcitability (LTH) in nociceptive neurons. Since the LTH correlates directly with chronic pain in many animal models, we tested the hypothesis that inhibiting PKG-1α would attenuate LTH-mediated pain. We first synthesized and characterized compound N46 (N-((3R,4R)-4-(4-(2-fluoro-3-methoxy-6-propoxybenzoyl)benzamido)pyrrolidin-3-yl)-1H-indazole-5-carboxamide). N46 inhibits PKG-1α with an IC50 of 7.5 nmol, was highly selective when tested against a panel of 274 kinases, and tissue distribution studies indicate that it does not enter the CNS. To evaluate its antinociceptive potential, we used 2 animal models in which the pain involves both activated PKG-1α and LTH. Injecting complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) into the rat hind paw causes a thermal hyperalgesia that was significantly attenuated 24 hours after a single intravenous injection of N46. Next, we used a rat model of osteoarthritic knee joint pain and found that a single intra-articular injection of N46 alleviated the pain 14 days after the pain was established and the relief lasted for 7 days. Thermal hyperalgesia and osteoarthritic pain are also associated with the activation of the capsaicin-activated transient receptor protein vanilloid-1 (TRPV1) channel. We show that capsaicin activates PKG-1α in nerves and that a subcutaneous delivery of N46 attenuated the mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity elicited by exposure to capsaicin. Thus, PKG-1α appears to be downstream of the transient receptor protein vanilloid-1. Our studies provide proof of concept in animal models that a PKG-1α antagonist has a powerful antinociceptive effect on persistent, already existing inflammatory pain. They further suggest that N46 is a valid chemotype for the further development of such antagonists.

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