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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Nov 2023 - 1 Dec 2023

2023 Nov 28

Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai)


κ-Opioid receptor activation attenuates osteoarthritis synovitis by regulating macrophage polarization through the NF-κB pathway.


Shi Y, Tao H, Li X, Zhang L, Li C, Sun W, Chu M, Chen K, Zhu P, Wang Q, Gu C, Wang L, Yang X, Hao Y


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a prevalent and chronic joint disease that affects the aging population, causing pain and disability. Macrophages in synovium are important mediators of synovial inflammatory activity and pathological joint pain. Previous studies have demonstrated the significant involvement of κ-opioid receptor (KOR) in the regulation of pain and inflammation. Our study reveals a significant reduction in synovial KOR expression among patients and mice with OA. Here, we find that KOR activation effectively inhibits the expressions of the LPS-induced-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-6 by inhibiting macrophage M1 phenotype. Mechanistically, KOR activation effectively suppresses the proinflammatory factor secretion of macrophages by inhibiting the translocation of NF-κB into the nucleus. Our animal experiments reveal that activation of KOR effectively alleviates knee pain and prevents synovitis progression in OA mice. Consistently, KOR administration suppresses the expressions of M1 macrophage markers and the NF-κB pathway in the synovium of the knee. Collectively, our study suggests that targeting KOR may be a viable strategy for treating OA by inhibiting synovitis and improving joint pain in affected patients.