Peripheral neuropathy could be reversed by FDA-approved class of drugs
Treatments for peripheral neuropathy, the numbness and pain most commonly felt in the fingers, arms and legs due to nerve damage, tend to focus on managing pain. But an international team may have found an alternative approach that could potentially reverse symptoms with a class of drugs already in use for other conditions.
Addressing the underlying condition behind neuropathy—such as diabetes—is a major part of alleviating symptoms, but there is no approved treatment that focuses on nerve degeneration. While studying mechanisms involved in neuron growth and regrowth, scientists from UC San Diego and the University of Manitoba, alongside colleagues from St. Boniface Hospital and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, identified a pathway that stunts the outgrowth of neurites, which connect neurons to other neurons.
The activation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors inhibits the growth of sensory neurons. The team found that blocking this pathway reversed the effects of peripheral neuropathy in mouse models of Type 1 and 2 diabetes, HIV and chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. Their findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.