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Discovery of a Novel Non-Narcotic Analgesic Derived from the CL-20 Explosive: Synthesis, Pharmacology, and Target Identification of Thiowurtzine, a Potent Inhibitor of the Opioid Receptors and the Ion Channels

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-05-31, 07:04 authored by Stephanie Aguero, Simon Megy, Valeria V. Eremina, Alexander I. Kalashnikov, Svetlana G. Krylova, Daria A. Kulagina, Ksenia A. Lopatina, Mailys Fournier, Tatyana N. Povetyeva, Alexander B. Vorozhtsov, Sergey V. Sysolyatin, Vadim V. Zhdanov, Raphael Terreux
The number of candidate molecules for new non-narcotic analgesics is extremely limited. Here, we report the identification of thiowurtzine, a new potent analgesic molecule with promising application in chronic pain treatment. We describe the chemical synthesis of this unique compound derived from the hexaazaisowurtzitane (CL-20) explosive molecule. Then, we use animal experiments to assess its analgesic activity in vivo upon chemical, thermal, and mechanical exposures, compared to the effect of several reference drugs. Finally, we investigate the potential receptors of thiowurtzine in order to better understand its complex mechanism of action. We use docking, molecular modeling, and molecular dynamics simulations to identify and characterize the potential targets of the drug and confirm the results of the animal experiments. Our findings finally indicate that thiowurtzine may have a complex mechanism of action by essentially targeting the mu opioid receptor, the TRPA1 ion channel, and the Cav voltage-gated calcium channel.