Propacetamol (PPCM) is a prodrug of paracetamol (PCM), which was generated to increase water solubility of PCM for intravenous delivery. PPCM is rapidly hydrolyzed by plasma esterases to PCM and diethylglycine and shares some structural and metabolic properties with lidocaine. Although PPCM is considered to be comparable to PCM regarding its analgesic properties, injection pain is a common side effect described for PPCM but not PCM. Injection pain is a frequent and unpleasant side effect of numerous drugs in clinical use, and previous reports have indicated that the ligand gated ion channels transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) and transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) can mediate this effect on sensory neurons. This study aimed to investigate molecular mechanisms by which PPCM, in contrast to PCM, causes injection pain. Therefore, human TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors were expressed in human embryonic kidney 293 cells and investigated by means of whole-cell patch clamp and ratiometric calcium imaging. PPCM (but not PCM) activated TRPV1, sensitized heat-induced currents, and caused an increase in intracellular calcium. In TRPA1-expressing cells however, both PPCM and PCM evoked calcium responses but failed to induce inward currents. Intracutaneous injection of PPCM, but not of PCM, in human volunteers induced an intense and short-lasting pain and an increase in superficial blood flow, indicating activation of nociceptive C fibers and subsequent neuropeptide release. In conclusion, activation of human TRPV1 by PPCM seems to be a relevant mechanism for induction of pain upon intracutaneous injection and thus also for pain reported as an adverse side effect upon intravenous administration.
- Copyright © 2016 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics