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Papers: 3 Sep 2022 - 9 Sep 2022

Animal Studies

2022 Sep 02

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol

Metformin prevents morphine-induced apoptosis in rats with diabetic neuropathy: a possible mechanism for attenuating morphine tolerance.


Avci O, Ozdemir E, Taskiran A S, Inan Z D S, Gursoy S
Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2022 Sep 02.
PMID: 36050544.


Morphine is a drug of choice for the treatment of severe and chronic pain, but tolerance to the antinociceptive effect limits its use. The development of tolerance to morphine has recently been associated with neuronal apoptosis. In this study, our aim was to investigate the effects of metformin on morphine-induced neuronal apoptosis and antinociceptive tolerance in diabetic rats. Three days of cumulative dosing were administered to establish morphine tolerance in rats. The antinociceptive effects of metformin (50 mg/kg) and test dose of morphine (5 mg/kg) were considered at 30-min intervals by thermal antinociceptive tests. To induce diabetic neuropathy, streptozotocin (STZ, 65 mg/kg) was injected intraperitoneally. ELISA kits were used to measure caspase-3, bax, and bcl-2 levels from dorsal root ganglion (DRG) tissue. Semi-quantitative scoring system was used to evaluate apoptotic cells with the the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) method. The findings suggest that co-administration of metformin with morphine to diabetic rats showed a significant increase in antinociceptive effect compared to morphine alone. The antinociceptive tests indicated that metformin significantly attenuated morphine antinociceptive tolerance in diabetic rats. In addition, metformin decreased the levels of apoptotic proteins caspase 3 and Bax in DRG neurons, while significantly increased the levels of antiapoptotic Bcl-2. Semi-quantitative scoring showed that metformin provided a significant reduction in apoptotic cell counts in diabetic rats. These data revealed that metformin demonstrated antiapoptotic activity in diabetic rat DRG neurons and attenuated morphine tolerance. The antiapoptotic activity of metformin probably plays a significant role in reducing morphine tolerance.