Nonparalytic botulinum molecules for the control of pain

Antonina S. Mangione, Ilona Obara, Maria Maiarú, Sandrine M. Geranton, Cristina Tassorelli, Enrico Ferrari, Charlotte Leese, Bazbek Davletov, Stephen P. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Local injections of botulinum toxins have been reported to be useful not only for the treatment of peripheral neuropathic pain and migraine but also to cause long-lasting muscle paralysis, a potentially serious side effect. Recently, a botulinum A-based molecule ("BiTox") has been synthesized that retains neuronal silencing capacity without triggering muscle paralysis. In this study, we examined whether BiTox delivered peripherally was able to reduce or prevent the increased nociceptive sensitivity found in animal models of inflammatory, surgical, and neuropathic pain. Plasma extravasation and edema were also measured as well as keratinocyte proliferation. No motor deficits were seen and acute thermal and mechanical nociceptive thresholds were unimpaired by BiTox injections. We found reduced plasma extravasation and inflammatory edema as well as lower levels of keratinocyte proliferation in cutaneous tissue after local BiTox injection. However, we found no evidence that BiTox was transported to the dorsal root ganglia or dorsal horn and no deficits in formalin-elicited behaviors or capsaicin or formalin-induced c-Fos expression within the dorsal horn. In contrast, Bitox treatment strongly reduced A-nociceptor-mediated secondary mechanical hyperalgesia associated with either complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA)-induced joint inflammation or capsaicin injection and the hypersensitivity associated with spared nerve injury. These results imply that although local release of neuromodulators from C-fibers was inhibited by BiTox injection, C-nociceptive signaling function was not impaired. Taken together with recent clinical data the results suggest that BiTox should be considered for treatment of pain conditions in which A-nociceptors are thought to play a significant role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1045-1055
Number of pages11
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2016


  • Anti-nociception
  • BiTox
  • Botulinum toxin
  • Inflammatory pain
  • Neuropathic pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Pharmacology

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