Tally M Largent-Milnes

Tally M Largent-Milnes

Assistant Professor, Pharmacology
Assistant Professor, BIO5 Institute
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
(520) 626-6400

Research Interest

Dr. Tally Largent-Milnes Ph.D., is a Research Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Arizona. Dr. Largent-Milnes is a member of the International Association for the Study of Pain, the Society for Neuroscience, and the American Pain Society. Her major research focus is on trigeminal (Vc) synaptic physiology, neuropathic pain and rational design of multifunctional compounds to treat chronic pain. Dr. Largent-Milnes uses whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry, behavior, and pharmacology, to explore excitatory synaptic transmission between trigeminal afferents and nucleus caudalis (Vc) neurons as well as the adaptations that accompany certain pathologies/pharmacological interventions. Her work is critical to improve our understanding of the construction of the trigeminal system at the synaptic level, and will allow for the development of better therapeutics to treat select craniofacial pain disorders through her research.


Forte, B. L., Slosky, L. M., Zhang, H., Arnold, M. R., Staatz, W. D., Hay, M., Largent-Milnes, T. M., & Vanderah, T. W. (2016). Angiotensin-(1-7)/Mas receptor as an antinociceptive agent in cancer-induced bone pain. Pain, 157(12), 2709-2721.
BIO5 Collaborators
Meredith Hay, Tally M Largent-Milnes

Many cancerous solid tumors metastasize to the bone and induce pain (cancer-induced bone pain [CIBP]). Cancer-induced bone pain is often severe because of enhanced inflammation, rapid bone degradation, and disease progression. Opioids are prescribed to manage this pain, but they may enhance bone loss and increase tumor proliferation, further compromising patient quality of life. Angiotensin-(1-7) (Ang-(1-7)) binds and activates the Mas receptor (MasR). Angiotensin-(1-7)/MasR activation modulates inflammatory signaling after acute tissue insult, yet no studies have investigated whether Ang-(1-7)/MasR play a role in CIBP. We hypothesized that Ang-(1-7) inhibits CIBP by targeting MasR in a murine model of breast CIBP. 66.1 breast cancer cells were implanted into the femur of BALB/cAnNHsd mice as a model of CIBP. Spontaneous and evoked pain behaviors were assessed before and after acute and chronic administration of Ang-(1-7). Tissues were collected from animals for ex vivo analyses of MasR expression, tumor burden, and bone integrity. Cancer inoculation increased spontaneous pain behaviors by day 7 that were significantly reduced after a single injection of Ang-(1-7) and after sustained administration. Preadministration of A-779 a selective MasR antagonist prevented this reduction, whereas pretreatment with the AT2 antagonist had no effect; an AT1 antagonist enhanced the antinociceptive activity of Ang-(1-7) in CIBP. Repeated Ang-(1-7) administration did not significantly change tumor burden or bone remodeling. Data here suggest that Ang-(1-7)/MasR activation significantly attenuates CIBP, while lacking many side effects seen with opioids. Thus, Ang-(1-7) may be an alternative therapeutic strategy for the nearly 90% of patients with advanced-stage cancer who experience excruciating pain.

Francois-Moutal, L., Wang, Y., Moutal, A., Cottier, K. E., Melemedjian, O. K., Yang, X., Wang, Y., Ju, W., Largent-Milnes, T. M., Khanna, M., Vanderah, T. W., & Khanna, R. (2015). A membrane-delimited N-myristoylated CRMP2 peptide aptamer inhibits CaV2.2 trafficking and reverses inflammatory and postoperative pain behaviors. PAIN, 156(7), 1247-1264.
Moutal, A., Dustrude, E. T., Largent-Milnes, T. M., Vanderah, T. W., Khanna, M., & Khanna, R. (2017). Blocking CRMP2 SUMOylation reverses neuropathic pain. Molecular psychiatry.
Hofmann, M. E., Largent-Milnes, T. M., Fawley, J. A., & Andresen, M. C. (2014). External QX-314 inhibits evoked cranial primary afferent synaptic transmission independent of TRPV1. Journal of neurophysiology, 112(11), 2697-706.

The cell-impermeant lidocaine derivative QX-314 blocks sodium channels via intracellular mechanisms. In somatosensory nociceptive neurons, open transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) receptors provide a transmembrane passageway for QX-314 to produce long-lasting analgesia. Many cranial primary afferents express TRPV1 at synapses on neurons in the nucleus of the solitary tract and caudal trigeminal nucleus (Vc). Here, we investigated whether QX-314 interrupts neurotransmission from primary afferents in rat brain-stem slices. Shocks to the solitary tract (ST) activated highly synchronous evoked excitatory postsynaptic currents (ST-EPSCs). Application of 300 μM QX-314 increased the ST-EPSC latency from TRPV1+ ST afferents, but, surprisingly, it had similar actions at TRPV1- ST afferents. Continued exposure to QX-314 blocked evoked ST-EPSCs at both afferent types. Neither the time to onset of latency changes nor the time to ST-EPSC failure differed between responses for TRPV1+ and TRPV1- inputs. Likewise, the TRPV1 antagonist capsazepine failed to prevent the actions of QX-314. Whereas QX-314 blocked ST-evoked release, the frequency and amplitude of spontaneous EPSCs remained unaltered. In neurons exposed to QX-314, intracellular current injection evoked action potentials suggesting a presynaptic site of action. QX-314 acted similarly at Vc neurons to increase latency and block EPSCs evoked from trigeminal tract afferents. Our results demonstrate that QX-314 blocked nerve conduction in cranial primary afferents without interrupting the glutamate release mechanism or generation of postsynaptic action potentials. The TRPV1 independence suggests that QX-314 either acted extracellularly or more likely entered these axons through an undetermined pathway common to all cranial primary afferents.

Slosky, L. M., BassiriRad, N. M., Symons, A. M., Thompson, M., Doyle, T., Forte, B. L., Staatz, W. D., Bui, L., Neumann, W. L., Mantyh, P. W., Salvemini, D., Largent-Milnes, T. M., & Vanderah, T. W. (2016). The cystine/glutamate antiporter system xc- drives breast tumor cell glutamate release and cancer-induced bone pain. Pain, 157(11), 2605-2616.

Bone is one of the leading sites of metastasis for frequently diagnosed malignancies, including those arising in the breast, prostate and lung. Although these cancers develop unnoticed and are painless in their primary sites, bone metastases result in debilitating pain. Deeper investigation of this pain may reveal etiology and lead to early cancer detection. Cancer-induced bone pain (CIBP) is inadequately managed with current standard-of-care analgesics and dramatically diminishes patient quality of life. While CIBP etiology is multifaceted, elevated levels of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter, in the bone-tumor microenvironment may drive maladaptive nociceptive signaling. Here, we establish a relationship between the reactive nitrogen species peroxynitrite, tumor-derived glutamate, and CIBP. In vitro and in a syngeneic in vivo model of breast CIBP, murine mammary adenocarcinoma cells significantly elevated glutamate via the cystine/glutamate antiporter system xc. The well-known system xc inhibitor sulfasalazine significantly reduced levels of glutamate and attenuated CIBP-associated flinching and guarding behaviors. Peroxynitrite, a highly reactive species produced in tumors, significantly increased system xc functional expression and tumor cell glutamate release. Scavenging peroxynitrite with the iron and mangano-based porphyrins, FeTMPyP and SRI10, significantly diminished tumor cell system xc functional expression, reduced femur glutamate levels and mitigated CIBP. In sum, we demonstrate how breast cancer bone metastases upregulate a cystine/glutamate co-transporter to elevate extracellular glutamate. Pharmacological manipulation of peroxynitrite or system xc attenuates CIBP, supporting a role for tumor-derived glutamate in CIBP and validating the targeting of system xc as a novel therapeutic strategy for the management of metastatic bone pain.