HCN Channels: New therapeutic targets for pain treatment
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Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels are highly regulated proteins which respond to different cellular stimuli. The HCN currents (Ih) mediated by HCN1 and HCN2 drive the repetitive firing in nociceptive neurons. The role of HCN channels in pain has been widely investigated as targets for the development of new therapeutic drugs, but the comprehensive design of HCN channel modulators has been restricted due to the lack of crystallographic data. The three-dimensional structure of the human HCN1 channel was recently reported, opening new possibilities for the rational design of highly-selective HCN modulators. In this review, we discuss the structural and functional properties of HCN channels, their pharmacological inhibitors, and the potential strategies for designing new drugs to block the HCN channel function associated with pain perception. © 2018 by the authors.
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