Glycine transport inhibitors for the treatment of pain

Robert J. Vandenberg, Renae M Ryan, Jane E. Carland, Wendy L. Imlach, Macdonald J Christie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Opioids, local anesthetics, anticonvulsant drugs, antidepressants, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to provide pain relief but they do not provide adequate pain relief in a large proportion of chronic pain patients and are often associated with unacceptable side effects. Inhibitory glycinergic neurotransmission is impaired in chronic pain states, and this provides a novel target for drug development. Inhibitors of the glycine transporter 2 (GlyT2) enhance inhibitory neurotransmission and show particular promise for the treatment of neuropathic pain. N-arachidonyl-glycine (NAGly) is an endogenous lipid that inhibits glycine transport by GlyT2 and also shows potential as an analgesic, which may be further exploited in drug development. In this review we discuss the role of glycine neurotransmission in chronic pain and future prospects for the use of glycine transport inhibitors in the treatment of pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-430
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • glycine transport inhibitors
  • glycine transporter 2
  • neuropathic pain

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