Receptors that are involved in generation and transduction of pain signals attract much interest from the scientific and corporate communities. Good commercial prospects for successful development of effective analgesic drugs stimulate significantly the research. This article provides a brief overview of the key molecular targets, i.e. cell receptors, inhibition of which can lead to analgesia. Today transient receptor potential (TRP), purinergic (P2X) receptors and acidsensing ion channels (ASIC) are considered to be the most important proteins for perception of pain stimuli. These ionotropic receptors also participate in the development of inflammation; their hyperactivity leads to many pathological conditions and is closely associated with acute and inflammatory pain. Development of molecules capable to selectively modulate these receptors, their in vitro and in vivo effects, as well as perspectives for practical application described in patents and research articles are reviewed in this paper.
Keywords: ASIC channels, clinical trials, inflammation, pain, purinergic P2X receptors, sensory neurons, TRP receptors, antisense oligonucleotides, siRNA, gastrointestinal motor dysfunction
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