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Papers of the Week

Papers: 6 April 2024 - 12 April 2024

2024 Apr

Genes Brain Behav




Genetic background and sex influence somatosensory sensitivity and oxycodone analgesia in the Hybrid Rat Diversity Panel.


Duffy EP, Ward JO, Hale LH, Brown KT, Kwilasz AJ, Saba LM, Ehringer MA, Bachtell RK


Opioid use disorder (OUD) is an ongoing public health concern in the United States, and relatively little work has addressed how genetic background contributes to OUD. Understanding the genetic contributions to oxycodone-induced analgesia could provide insight into the early stages of OUD development. Here, we present findings from a behavioral phenotyping protocol using several inbred strains from the Hybrid Rat Diversity Panel. Our behavioral protocol included a modified “up-down” von Frey procedure to measure inherent strain differences in the sensitivity to a mechanical stimulus on the hindpaw. We also performed the tail immersion assay, which measures the latency to display tail withdrawal in response to a hot water bath. Initial withdrawal thresholds were taken in drug-naïve animals to record baseline thermal sensitivity across the strains. Oxycodone-induced analgesia was measured after administration of oxycodone over the course of 2 h. Both mechanical and thermal sensitivity are shaped by genetic factors and display moderate heritability (h = 0.23-0.40). All strains displayed oxycodone-induced analgesia that peaked at 15-30 min and returned to baseline by 2 h. There were significant differences between the strains in the magnitude and duration of their analgesic response to oxycodone, although the heritability estimates were quite modest (h = 0.10-0.15). These data demonstrate that genetic background confers differences in mechanical sensitivity, thermal sensitivity, and oxycodone-induced analgesia.