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Papers of the Week

Papers: 7 Jan 2023 - 13 Jan 2023

2023 Jan 09

Neurosci Bull

Targeting Peripheral μ-opioid Receptors or μ-opioid Receptor-Expressing Neurons Does not Prevent Morphine-induced Mechanical Allodynia and Anti-allodynic Tolerance.


The chronic use of morphine and other opioids is associated with opioid-induced hypersensitivity (OIH) and analgesic tolerance. Among the different forms of OIH and tolerance, the opioid receptors and cell types mediating opioid-induced mechanical allodynia and anti-allodynic tolerance remain unresolved. Here we demonstrated that the loss of peripheral μ-opioid receptors (MORs) or MOR-expressing neurons attenuated thermal tolerance, but did not affect the expression and maintenance of morphine-induced mechanical allodynia and anti-allodynic tolerance. To confirm this result, we made dorsal root ganglia-dorsal roots-sagittal spinal cord slice preparations and recorded low-threshold Aβ-fiber stimulation-evoked inputs and outputs in superficial dorsal horn neurons. Consistent with the behavioral results, peripheral MOR loss did not prevent the opening of Aβ mechanical allodynia pathways in the spinal dorsal horn. Therefore, the peripheral MOR signaling pathway may not be an optimal target for preventing mechanical OIH and analgesic tolerance. Future studies should focus more on central mechanisms.