Potent analgesic effects of GDNF in neuropathic pain states.
Boucher TJ., Okuse K., Bennett DL., Munson JB., Wood JN., McMahon SB.
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.