Comparison of Bromhexine and its Active Metabolite - Ambroxol as Potential Analgesics Reducing Oxaliplatin-induced Neuropathic Pain - Pharmacodynamic and Molecular Docking Studies

Author(s): Anna Furgała-Wojas, Magdalena Kowalska, Alicja Nowaczyk, Łukasz Fijałkowski, Kinga Sałat*

Journal Name: Current Drug Metabolism

Volume 21 , Issue 7 , 2020

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Graphical Abstract:


Background: Painful peripheral neuropathy is a dose-limiting adverse effect of the antitumor drug oxaliplatin. The main symptoms of neuropathy: tactile allodynia and cold hyperalgesia, appear in more than 80% of patients on oxaliplatin therapy and are due to the overexpression of neuronal sodium channels (Navs) and neuroinflammation.

Objective: This study assessed antiallodynic and antihyperalgesic properties of two repurposed drugs with antiinflammatory and Nav-blocking properties (bromhexine and its pharmacologically active metabolite - ambroxol) in a mouse model of neuropathic pain induced by oxaliplatin. Using molecular docking techniques, we predicted targets implicated in the observed in vivo activity of bromhexine.

Methods: Oxaliplatin (a single intraperitoneal dose of 10 mg/kg) induced tactile allodynia and cold hyperalgesia in CD-1 mice and the effectiveness of single-dose or repeated-dose bromhexine and ambroxol to attenuate pain hypersensitivity was assessed in von Frey and cold plate tests. Additionally, Veber analysis and molecular docking experiments of bromhexine on mouse (m) and human (h) Nav1.6-1.9 were carried out.

Results: At the corresponding doses, ambroxol was more effective than bromhexine as an antiallodynic agent. However, at the dose of 150 mg/kg, ambroxol induced motor impairments in mice. Repeated-dose bromhexine and ambroxol partially attenuated the development of late-phase tactile allodynia in oxaliplatin-treated mice. Only 7-day administration of bromhexine attenuated the development of late-phase cold hyperalgesia. Bromhexine was predicted to be a strong inhibitor of mNav1.6, mNav1.7, mNav1.9, and hNav1.7-hNav1.9.

Conclusion: The conversion of bromhexine to other than ambroxol active metabolites should be considered when interpreting some of its in vivo effects. Nav-blocking properties of bromhexine (and previously also predicted for ambroxol) might underlie its ability to attenuate pain caused by oxaliplatin.

Keywords: Drug repurposing, bromhexine, ambroxol, oxaliplatin-induced neuropathy, tactile allodynia, cold hyperalgesia, molecular docking, sodium channels.

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Year: 2020
Published on: 11 July, 2020
Page: [548 - 561]
Pages: 14
DOI: 10.2174/1389200221666200711155632
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