Viral vector-mediated gene transfer of glutamic acid decarboxylase for chronic pain treatment: A literature review

Megumi Kanao-Kanda, Hirotsugu Kanda, Shue Liu, Sabita Roy, Michal Toborek, Shuanglin Hao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Chronic pain is long-lasting nociceptive state, impairing the patient's quality of life. Existing analgesics are generally not effective in the treatment of chronic pain, some of which such as opioids have the risk of tolerance/dependence and overdose death with higher daily opioid doses for increasing analgesic effect. Opioid use disorders have already reached an epidemic level in the United States; therefore, nonopioid analgesic approach and/or use of nonpharmacologic interventions will be employed with increasing frequency. Viral vector-mediated gene therapy is promising in clinical trials in the nervous system diseases. Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) enzyme, a key enzyme in biosynthesis of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), plays an important role in analgesic mechanism. In the literature review, we used PubMed and bioRxiv to search the studies, and the eligible criteria include (1) article written in English, (2) use of viral vectors expressing GAD67 or GAD65, and (3) preclinical pain models. We identified 13 eligible original research articles, in which the pain models include nerve injury, HIV-related pain, painful diabetic neuropathy, and formalin test. GAD expressed by the viral vectors from all the reports produced antinociceptive effects. Restoring GABA systems is a promising therapeutic strategy for chronic pain, which provides evidence for the clinical trial of gene therapy for pain in the near future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-414
Number of pages10
JournalHuman gene therapy
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • chronic pain
  • gene therapy
  • glutamic acid decarboxylase
  • viral vectors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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