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Papers of the Week

Papers: 5 Sep 2020 - 11 Sep 2020

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2020 Sep 04

Eur J Pharmacol

The cannabinoid CB receptor agonist LY2828360 synergizes with morphine to suppress neuropathic nociception and attenuates morphine reward and physical dependence.



The opioid crisis has underscored the urgent need to identify safe and effective therapeutic strategies to overcome opioid-induced liabilities. We recently reported that LY2828360, a slowly signaling G protein-biased cannabinoid CB receptor agonist, suppresses neuropathic nociception and attenuates the development of tolerance to the opioid analgesic morphine in paclitaxel-treated mice. Whether beneficial effects of LY2828360 are dependent upon the presence of a pathological pain state are unknown and its impact on unwanted opioid-induced side-effects have never been investigated. Here, we asked whether LY2828360 would produce synergistic anti-allodynic effects with morphine in a paclitaxel model of chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain and characterized its impact on opioid-induced reward and other unwanted side-effects associated with chronic opioid administration. Isobolographic analysis revealed that combinations of LY2828360 and morphine produced synergistic anti-allodynic effects in suppressing paclitaxel-induced mechanical allodynia. In wildtype (WT) mice, LY2828360 blocked morphine-induced reward in a conditioned place preference assay without producing reward or aversion when administered alone. The LY2828360-induced attenuation of morphine-induced reward was absent in CB knockout (CBKO) mice. In the absence of a neuropathic pain state, LY2828360 partially attenuated naloxone-precipitated opioid withdrawal in morphine-dependent WT mice, and this withdrawal was itself markedly exacerbated in CBKO mice. Moreover, LY2828360 did not reliably alter morphine-induced slowing of colonic transit or attenuate tolerance to morphine antinociceptive efficacy in the hot plate test of acute nociception. Our results suggest that cannabinoid CB receptor activation enhances the therapeutic properties of opioids while attenuating unwanted side-effects such as reward and dependence that occur with sustained opioid treatment.