Neuropathy: possible research breakthourgh on HCN2 protein

According to this study, drugs that block HCN2 protein channels (it is an ion channel, that allows passage through the cell membrane) appear to completely stop neuropathic pain:

“The researchers also found that blocking HCN2 channels, or “genetically deleting” them in small nociceptive neurons, completely stopped the sensation of pain.”

This means that drugs could be developed targeting HCN2 that would decrease or block neuropathic pain. This looks like significant news to me, even though there is no immediate drug taking advantage of this discovery that I know of.


I know this article is specifically about diabetic neuropathy, but I wonder if this could have any impact for those with neuropathy due to other causes of nerve damage (my mom has neuropathy due to a spinal surgery that caused some nerve damage). Thanks for sharing!


Wow this is really interesting!!!
Of course long term the goal is to prevent the nerve damage in the first place, but getting good relief is no small thing either. I know folks with cancer also often experience neuropathic pain.


From what I understand, the study investigated a specific kind of neuropathy which is caused by diabetic damage to the sensory nerves:
“The nerve damage that occurs in diabetes interferes with the body’s ability to detect painful stimuli, or nociception.
Normally, nociception triggers valuable signals that warn against imminent damage. In diabetic nerve pain, however, the damaged nerves cause the signals to persist, even in the absence of threats.
Because diabetic nerve pain arises from damage to the sensory nerves, it does not respond to many drugs that work in other types of pain, creating a desperate need for new pain drugs.”

I assume that its conclusions would be valid for neuropathy from any cause that results in the physical damage seen in diabetic neuropathy – but I am not sure if that applies to your mom. I hope it does!

This is still an early finding, though. We may find out that any improvement is temporary, for instance. Still, it is the first time I know of that people find a possible way to block diabetic neuropathy.

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Yes! Regardless of how helpful it is to the general population with neuropathy for various reasons, it does seem like a great breakthrough in research that could lead to better treatment options for diabetics, at least, and hopefully others.


This will be great news when it happens, I foresee many years of development going into making this concept work. When you start messing with pain signals there could be lots of unintended consequences. I would guess the ability to target a drug or a process to specific types of pain receptor will be the breakthrough that would allow this research to make it as a viable treatment.

Diabetic nerve pain is a problem for so many diabetics, including myself. Let’s wish them luck and speed with this research.