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Papers of the Week

Papers: 19 Jun 2021 - 25 Jun 2021

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2021 Jun 18


Kappa opioid receptor modulation of endometriosis pain in mice.


Escudero-Lara A, Cabañero D, Maldonado R
Neuropharmacology. 2021 Jun 18:108677.
PMID: 34153313.


The kappa opioid receptor is a constituent of the endogenous opioid analgesia system widely expressed in somatosensory nervous pathways and also in endometrial tissues. This work investigates the possible involvement of kappa opioid receptor on the nociceptive, behavioral and histopathological manifestations of endometriosis in a murine model. Female mice receiving endometrial implants develop a persistent mechanical hypersensitivity in the pelvic area that is stronger during the estrus phase of the estrous cycle. The kappa opioid receptor agonist U50,488H produces a dose-dependent relief of this mechanical hypersensitivity, regardless of the cycle phase. Repeated exposure to a low dose of U50,488H (1 mg/kg/day s.c. for one month) provides sustained relief of mechanical hypersensitivity, without tolerance development or sedative side effects. Interestingly, this treatment also inhibits a decreased rearing behavior associated with spontaneous pain or discomfort in endometriosis mice. This KOR-mediated pain relief does not prevent the anxiety-like behavior or the cognitive impairment exhibited by endometriosis mice, and the growth of endometriotic cysts is also unaltered. These data provide evidence of strong pain-relieving properties of kappa opioid receptor stimulation in female mice with endometriosis pain. The persistence of affective and cognitive manifestations suggests that these comorbidities are independent of pelvic pain and simultaneous treatment of these co-morbidities may be necessary for successful management of endometriosis.