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Papers of the Week

Papers: 16 May 2020 - 22 May 2020

Pharmacology/Drug Development


Front Mol Neurosci


The Delta-Opioid Receptor; a Target for the Treatment of Pain.


Quirion B, Bergeron F, Blais V, Gendron L
Front Mol Neurosci. 2020; 13:52.
PMID: 32431594.


Nowadays, pain represents one of the most important societal burdens. Current treatments are, however, too often ineffective and/or accompanied by debilitating unwanted effects for patients dealing with chronic pain. Indeed, the prototypical opioid morphine, as many other strong analgesics, shows harmful unwanted effects including respiratory depression and constipation, and also produces tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction. The urgency to develop novel treatments against pain while minimizing adverse effects is therefore crucial. Over the years, the delta-opioid receptor (DOP) has emerged as a promising target for the development of new pain therapies. Indeed, targeting DOP to treat chronic pain represents a timely alternative to existing drugs, given the weak unwanted effects spectrum of DOP agonists. Here, we review the current knowledge supporting a role for DOP and its agonists for the treatment of pain. More specifically, we will focus on the cellular and subcellular localization of DOP in the nervous system. We will also discuss in further detail the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in controlling the cellular trafficking of DOP, known to differ significantly from most G protein-coupled receptors. This review article will allow a better understanding of how DOP represents a promising target to develop new treatments for pain management as well as where we stand as of our ability to control its cellular trafficking and cell surface expression.