Pharmacological Inhibition of the Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel NaV1.7 Alleviates Chronic Visceral Pain in a Rodent Model of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Yan Jiang, Joel Castro, Linda V. Blomster, Akello J. Agwa, Jessica Maddern, Gudrun Schober, Volker Herzig, Chun Yuen Chow, Fernanda C. Cardoso, Paula Demétrio De Souza França, Junior Gonzales, Christina I. Schroeder, Steffen Esche, Thomas Reiner, Stuart M. Brierley, Glenn F. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The human nociceptor-specific voltage-gated sodium channel 1.7 (hNaV1.7) is critical for sensing various types of somatic pain, but it appears not to play a primary role in acute visceral pain. However, its role in chronic visceral pain remains to be determined. We used assay-guided fractionation to isolate a novel hNaV1.7 inhibitor, Tsp1a, from tarantula venom. Tsp1a is 28-residue peptide that potently inhibits hNaV1.7 (IC50 = 10 nM), with greater than 100-fold selectivity over hNaV1.3-hNaV1.6, 45-fold selectivity over hNaV1.1, and 24-fold selectivity over hNaV1.2. Tsp1a is a gating modifier that inhibits NaV1.7 by inducing a hyperpolarizing shift in the voltage-dependence of channel inactivation and slowing recovery from fast inactivation. NMR studies revealed that Tsp1a adopts a classical knottin fold, and like many knottin peptides, it is exceptionally stable in human serum. Remarkably, intracolonic administration of Tsp1a completely reversed chronic visceral hypersensitivity in a mouse model of irritable bowel syndrome. The ability of Tsp1a to reduce visceral hypersensitivity in a model of irritable bowel syndrome suggests that pharmacological inhibition of hNaV1.7 at peripheral sensory nerve endings might be a viable approach for eliciting analgesia in patients suffering from chronic visceral pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1362–1378
Number of pages17
JournalACS Pharmacology & Translational Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • analgesic
  • chronic visceral pain
  • gating modifier
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • venom peptide
  • voltage-gated sodium channel 1.7

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