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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Jul 2020 - 31 Jul 2020

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2020 Jul 30

J Neurosci Res

Sex differences in kappa opioid receptor antinociception is influenced by the number of X chromosomes in mouse.


Taylor AMW, Chadwick CI, Mehrabani S, Hrncir H, Arnold AP, Evans CJ
J Neurosci Res. 2020 Jul 30.
PMID: 32731302.


Kappa opioid receptor (KOR) agonists produce robust analgesia with minimal abuse liability and are considered promising pharmacological agents to manage chronic pain and itch. The KOR system is also notable for robust differences between the sexes, with females exhibiting lower analgesic response than males. Sexually dimorphic traits can be due to either the influence of gonadal hormones during development or adulthood, or due to the complement of genes expressed on the X or Y chromosome. Previous studies examining sex differences in KOR antinociception have relied on surgical or pharmacological manipulation of the gonads to determine whether sex hormones influence KOR function. While there are conflicting reports whether gonadal hormones influence KOR function, no study has examined these effects in context with sex chromosomes. Here, we use two genetic mouse models, the four core genotypes and XY*, to isolate the chromosomal and hormonal contributions to sex differences in KOR analgesia. Mice were treated with systemic KOR agonist (U50,488H) and thermal analgesia measured in the tail withdrawal assay. We found that KOR antinociception was influenced predominantly by the number of the X chromosomes. These data suggest that the dose and/or parental imprint on X gene(s) contribute significantly to the sexually dimorphism in KOR analgesia.