Repurposing cancer drugs identifies kenpaullone which ameliorates pathologic pain in preclinical models via normalization of inhibitory neurotransmission.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Inhibitory GABA-ergic neurotransmission is fundamental for the adult vertebrate central nervous system and requires low chloride concentration in neurons, maintained by KCC2, a neuroprotective ion transporter that extrudes intracellular neuronal chloride. To identify Kcc2 gene expression‑enhancing compounds, we screened 1057 cell growth-regulating compounds in cultured primary cortical neurons. We identified kenpaullone (KP), which enhanced Kcc2/KCC2 expression and function in cultured rodent and human neurons by inhibiting GSK3ß. KP effectively reduced pathologic pain-like behavior in mouse models of nerve injury and bone cancer. In a nerve-injury pain model, KP restored Kcc2 expression and GABA-evoked chloride reversal potential in the spinal cord dorsal horn. Delta-catenin, a phosphorylation-target of GSK3ß in neurons, activated the Kcc2 promoter via KAISO transcription factor. Transient spinal over-expression of delta-catenin mimicked KP analgesia. Our findings of a newly repurposed compound and a novel, genetically-encoded mechanism that each enhance Kcc2 gene expression enable us to re-normalize disrupted inhibitory neurotransmission through genetic re-programming.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Yeo, M; Chen, Y; Jiang, C; Chen, G; Wang, K; Chandra, S; Bortsov, A; Lioudyno, M; Zeng, Q; Wang, P; Wang, Z; Busciglio, J; Ji, R-R; Liedtke, W

Published Date

  • October 27, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 6208 -

PubMed ID

  • 34707084

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8551327

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2041-1723

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/s41467-021-26270-3


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England