Plant and fungi derived analgesic natural products targeting voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels

Aida Calderon-Rivera, Santiago Loya-Lopez, Kimberly Gomez, Rajesh Khanna

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels (VGSCs and VGCCs) play an important role in the modulation of physiologically relevant processes in excitable cells that range from action potential generation to neurotransmission. Once their expression and/or function is altered in disease, specific pharmacological approaches become necessary to mitigate the negative consequences of such dysregulation. Several classes of small molecules have been developed with demonstrated effectiveness on VGSCs and VGCCs; however, off-target effects have also been described, limiting their use and spurring efforts to find more specific and safer molecules to target these channels. There are a great number of plants and herbal preparations that have been empirically used for the treatment of diseases in which VGSCs and VGCCs are involved. Some of these natural products have progressed to clinical trials, while others are under investigation for their action mechanisms on signaling pathways, including channels. In this review, we synthesize information from ~30 compounds derived from natural sources like plants and fungi and delineate their effects on VGSCs and VGCCs in human disease, particularly pain. (Figure presented.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-215
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • VGCCs
  • VGSCs
  • fungi
  • natural products
  • pain
  • plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


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