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Neuronal nicotinic receptors as analgesic targets: it's a winding road

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018145

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Biochem Pharmacol. 2013 Oct 15;86(8):1208-14. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2013.08.001. Epub 2013 Aug 12.

Neuronal nicotinic receptors as analgesic targets: it's a winding road.  Umana IC1, Daniele CA, McGehee DS.

Along with their well known role in nicotine addiction and autonomic physiology, neuronal nicotinic receptors (nAChRs) also have profound analgesic effects in animal models and humans.

This is not a new idea, even in the early 1500s, soon after tobacco was introduced to the new world, its proponents listed pain relief among the beneficial properties of smoking.

In recent years, analgesics that target specific nAChR subtypes have shown highly efficacious antinociceptive properties in acute and chronic pain models.

To date, the side effects of these drugs have precluded their advancement to the clinic. This review summarizes the recent efforts to identify analgesics that target nAChRs, and outlines some of the key neural substrates that contribute to these physiological effects. There remain many unanswered mechanistic questions in this field, and there are still compelling reasons to explore neuronal nAChRs as targets for the relief of pain.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:

Analgesia; Nicotinic; Nociception; Pain

PMID:  23948066

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