Potent Analgesic Effects of GDNF in Neuropathic Pain States

Science  06 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5489, pp. 124-127
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5489.124

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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.

  • * Present address: Department of Medicine, University College Hospital, London WC1E 6AU, UK.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: stephen.mcmahon{at}

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