Double-Binding Botulinum Molecule with Reduced Muscle Paralysis: Evaluation in In Vitro and In Vivo Models of Migraine

Anna P Andreou, Charlotte Leese, Rosaria Greco, Chiara Demartini, Eve Corrie, Deniz Simsek, Anna Zanaboni, Ksenia Koroleva, Joseph O Lloyd, Giorgio Lambru, Ciara Doran, Oleg Gafurov, Elizabeth Seward, Rashid Giniatullin, Cristina Tassorelli, Bazbek Davletov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With a prevalence of 15%, migraine is the most common neurological disorder and among the most disabling diseases, taking into account years lived with disability. Current oral medications for migraine show variable effects and are frequently associated with intolerable side effects, leading to the dissatisfaction of both patients and doctors. Injectable therapeutics, which include calcitonin gene-related peptide-targeting monoclonal antibodies and botulinum neurotoxin A (BoNT/A), provide a new paradigm for treatment of chronic migraine but are effective only in approximately 50% of subjects. Here, we investigated a novel engineered botulinum molecule with markedly reduced muscle paralyzing properties which could be beneficial for the treatment of migraine. This stapled botulinum molecule with duplicated binding domain-binary toxin-AA (BiTox/AA)-cleaves synaptosomal-associated protein 25 with a similar efficacy to BoNT/A in neurons; however, the paralyzing effect of BiTox/AA was 100 times less when compared to native BoNT/A following muscle injection. The performance of BiTox/AA was evaluated in cellular and animal models of migraine. BiTox/AA inhibited electrical nerve fiber activity in rat meningeal preparations while, in the trigeminovascular model, BiTox/AA raised electrical and mechanical stimulation thresholds in Aδ- and C-fiber nociceptors. In the rat glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) model, BiTox/AA proved effective in inhibiting GTN-induced hyperalgesia in the orofacial formalin test. We conclude that the engineered botulinum molecule provides a useful prototype for designing advanced future therapeutics for an improved efficacy in the treatment of migraine.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Nov 17 2020


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