Pain is typically classified into three major types—nociceptive, inflammatory and neuropathic, and ion channels have been implicated in the pathophysiology of all types of pain. Pain stimuli activate peripheral neurons through transducer ion channels that in turn activate sodium channels resulting in action potentials that transmit the signal to the central nervous system. Therapeutic compounds that can modify the activity of the channels in the peripheral neurons are useful to treat pain.
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The major ion channel classes targeting the nociceptive pain pathway include the TRP (transient receptor potential) channels, ASICs (acid-sensing ion channels), sodium channels (Nav1.7, Nav1.8 and Nav1.9), HCN (hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated) channels and calcium channels (high and low threshold voltage activated).
At Charles River, we use fluorescent assays, automated patch-clamp systems and manual patch electrophysiology assays to screen compounds that modulate ion channel activity. The platforms used to identify ion channel hits include IonWorks® Barracuda™ and Quattro, Sophion QPatch HT® and Qube, Molecular Devices PatchXpress® and manual patch clamp.
Below is sample data from our recordings of ion channels.