Exp Neurol 2012 Oct 2;237(2):260-6. Epub 2012 Jul 2.
NsGene A/S, Baltorpvej 154, 2750 Ballerup, Denmark.
Neuropathic pain is caused by a lesion or disease to the somatosensory nervous system and current treatment merely reduces symptoms. Here, we investigate the potential therapeutic effect of the neurotrophic factor Meteorin on multiple signs of neuropathic pain in two distinct rat models. In a first study, two weeks of intermittent systemic administration of recombinant Meteorin led to a dose-dependent reversal of established mechanical and cold hypersensitivity in rats after photochemically-induced sciatic nerve injury. Moreover, analgesic efficacy lasted for at least one week after treatment cessation. In rats with a chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve, five systemic injections of Meteorin over 9 days dose-dependently reversed established mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity as well as weight bearing deficits taken as a surrogate marker of spontaneous pain. The beneficial effects of systemic Meteorin were sustained for at least three weeks after treatment ended and no adverse side effects were observed. Pharmacokinetic analysis indicated that plasma Meteorin exposure correlated well with dosing and was no longer detectable after 24 hours. This pharmacokinetic profile combined with a delayed time of onset and prolonged duration of analgesic efficacy on multiple parameters suggests a disease-modifying mechanism rather than symptomatic pain relief. In sciatic nerve lesioned rats, delivery of recombinant Meteorin by intrathecal injection was also efficacious in reversing mechanical and cold hypersensitivity. Together, these data demonstrate that Meteorin represents a novel treatment strategy for the effective and long lasting relief from the debilitating consequences of neuropathic pain.