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Papers of the Week

Papers: 29 Feb 2020 - 6 Mar 2020

Animal Studies


Front Mol Neurosci


Peripheral Delta Opioid Receptors Mediate Formoterol Anti-allodynic Effect in a Mouse Model of Neuropathic Pain.


Ceredig R A, Pierre F, Doridot S, Alduntzin U, Hener P, Salvat E, Yalcin I, Gaveriaux-Ruff C, Barrot M, Massotte D
Front Mol Neurosci. 2019; 12:324.
PMID: 32116538.


Neuropathic pain is a challenging condition for which current therapies often remain unsatisfactory. Chronic administration of β2 adrenergic agonists, including formoterol currently used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, alleviates mechanical allodynia in the sciatic nerve cuff model of neuropathic pain. The limited clinical data currently available also suggest that formoterol would be a suitable candidate for drug repurposing. The antiallodynic action of β2 adrenergic agonists is known to require activation of the delta-opioid (DOP) receptor but better knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved is necessary. Using a mouse line in which DOP receptors were selectively ablated in neurons expressing Nav1.8 sodium channels (DOP cKO), we showed that these DOP peripheral receptors were necessary for the antiallodynic action of the β2 adrenergic agonist formoterol in the cuff model. Using a knock-in mouse line expressing a fluorescent version of the DOP receptor fused with the enhanced green fluorescent protein (DOPeGFP), we established in a previous study, that mechanical allodynia is associated with a smaller percentage of DOPeGFP positive small peptidergic sensory neurons in dorsal root ganglia (DRG), with a reduced density of DOPeGFP positive free nerve endings in the skin and with increased DOPeGFP expression at the cell surface. Here, we showed that the density of DOPeGFP positive free nerve endings in the skin is partially restored and no increase in DOPeGFP translocation to the plasma membrane is observed in mice in which mechanical pain is alleviated upon chronic oral administration of formoterol. This study, therefore, extends our previous results by confirming that changes in the mechanical threshold are associated with changes in peripheral DOP profile. It also highlights the common impact on DOP receptors between serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors such as duloxetine and the β2 mimetic formoterol.