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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Jul 2020 - 17 Jul 2020

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2020 Jul 15

J Neurochem

Endomorphin analog exhibited superiority in alleviating neuropathic hyperalgesia via weak activation of NMDA receptors.


Ma M, Wang Z, Wang J, Wei S, Cui J, Wang Y, Luo K, Zhao L, Liu X, Wang R
J Neurochem. 2020 Jul 15.
PMID: 32666510.


Morphine is a key drug for the treatment of pain but its side effects limit its clinical application. MEL-0614, an endomorphin-1 analog, has fewer side effects than morphine in addition to its powerful analgesic effect. In this study, we measured the effect of morphine and MEL-0614 on hyperalgesia (7 days) and neuropathic allodynia (14 days) after thermal, mechanical, and cold stimulation. We found that after 4 and 8 consecutive days of intrathecal administration (1, 3, and 10 nmol), morphine induced severe hyperalgesia and neuropathic allodynia, respectively. MEL-0614 did not induce hyperalgesia at low doses (1 and 3 nmol) and had a mitigating effect on morphine-induced neuropathic exacerbations in spared nerve injury mice. Hyperalgesia was blocked by Dynorphin A (1-17) antibody but not by an opioid receptor antagonist. To explore the reasons for the different results of morphine and MEL-0614, we used quantitative PCR and immunofluorescence to explore the effects of both on NMDA receptor subtype 2B (NR2B), microglia marker iba-1, and inflammatory mediators. After 8 days of consecutive administration, morphine (10 nmol) promoted an increase in the number of NR2B, iba-1, and inflammatory mediators in the spinal cord of mice. MEL-0614 (10 nmol) had no significant effect on these factors, and after co-administration with morphine, the expression of NR2B, iba-1, and inflammatory mediators was lower than that with morphine injection alone. Our research showed the advantage of MEL-0614 in terms of hyperalgesia and neuropathic allodynia, which may provide clinical relief of hyperalgesia and neuropathic allodynia caused by morphine.