Medication-overuse headache (MOH) is a syndrome that can develop in migraineurs after overuse of antimigraine drugs, including opiates and triptans especially. MOH manifests as increased frequency and intensity of migraine attacks and enhanced sensitivity to stimuli that elicit migraine episodes. Although the mechanisms underlying MOH remain unknown, it is hypothesized that repeated use of antimigraine drugs could elicit increased headache attacks as a consequence of neuronal plasticity that may increase responsiveness to migraine triggers. Preclinical studies show that exposure to either opiates or triptans can induce pronociceptive neuroadaptive changes in the orofacial division of the trigeminal ganglia that persist even after discontinuation of the drug treatment. Additionally, medications can elicit increased descending facilitatory influences that may amplify evoked inputs from trigeminal afferents leading to behavioral hypersensitivity reminiscent of cutaneous allodynia observed clinically. Importantly, enhanced descending facilitation may manifest as an inhibition of diffuse noxious inhibitory control. Persistent, pronociceptive adaptations in nociceptors as well as within descending modulatory pathways thus may jointly contribute to the development of MOH.
Migraine; Medication-overuse headache; Opiates; Triptans; Neuroadaptive changes
Cortical spreading depression (CSD) is a wave of depolarization followed by depression of bioelectrical activity that slowly propagates through the cortex. CSD is believed to be the underlying mechanism of aura in migraine; however, whether CSD can elicit pain associated with migraine headache is unclear.
Awake, freely moving rats were monitored for both CSD events and behavioral responses resulting from dural-cortical pinprick and/or KCl injection to the occipital cortex.
We observed tactile allodynia of the face and hindpaws, as well as enhanced Fos expression within the trigeminal nucleus caudalis (TNC) following CSD induced by KCl injection into the cortex, but not by pinprick. Application of KCl onto the dura elicited cutaneous allodynia and increased Fos staining in the TNC but did not elicit CSD events.
These data suggest that sustained activation of trigeminal afferents that may be required to establish cutaneous allodynia may not occur following CSD events in normal animals.
CSD; migraine; nucleus caudalis; trigeminal; allodynia; fos
Activation of transient receptor potential ankyrin-1 (TRPA1) on meningeal nerve endings has been suggested to contribute to environmental irritant-induced headache but this channel may also contribute to other forms of headache such as migraine. The preclinical studies described here examined functional expression of TRPA1 on dural afferents and investigated whether activation of TRPA1 contributes to headache-like behaviors. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were performed in vitro using two TRPA1 agonists, mustard oil (MO) and the environmental irritant umbellulone (UMB), on dural-projecting trigeminal ganglion neurons. Application of MO and UMB to dural afferents produced TRPA1-like currents in approximately 42% and 38% of cells, respectively. Using an established in vivo behavioral model of migraine-related allodynia, dural application of MO and UMB produced robust time-related tactile facial and hindpaw allodynia that was attenuated by pretreatment with the TRPA1 antagonist HC-030031. Additionally, MO or UMB were applied to the dura and exploratory activity was monitored for 30 minutes using an automated open-field activity chamber. Dural MO and UMB decreased the number of vertical rearing episodes and the time spent rearing in comparison to vehicle treated animals. This change in activity was prevented in rats pretreated with HC-030031 as well as sumatriptan, a clinically effective anti-migraine agent. These data indicate that TRPA1 is expressed on a substantial fraction of dural afferents and activation of meningeal TRPA1 produces behaviors consistent with those seen in patients during migraine attacks. Further, they suggest that activation of meningeal TRPA1 via endogenous or exogenous mechanisms can lead to afferent signaling and headache.
migraine; TRPA1; mustard oil; umbellulone; allodynia; headache; dura
Injuries can induce adaptations in pain processing that result in amplification of signaling. One mechanism may be analogous to long-term potentiation (LTP) and involve the atypical protein kinase C, PKMζ The possible contribution of PKMζ-dependent, and independent amplification mechanisms to experimental neuropathic pain was explored in rats with spinal nerve ligation (SNL) injury. SNL increasedp-PKMζin the rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) a site that mediates, in part, the unpleasant aspects of pain. Inhibition of PKMζ within the rACC by a single administration of ζ-pseudosubstrate inhibitory peptide (ZIP)reversedSNL-induced aversivenesswithin24 hrswhereasNMDA receptor blockade with MK-801 had no effects. The SNL-induced aversive state (reflecting “spontaneous” pain),was re-established in a time-dependent manner, with full recovery observed 7 days post-ZIP administration. Neither rACC ZIPnor MK-801altered evoked responses. In contrast, spinal ZIP or MK-801, but not scrambled peptide,transiently reversedevoked hypersensitivity but had no effect on nerve-injury induced spontaneous pain.PKMζ phosphorylation was not altered by SNL in the spinal dorsal horn.These data suggest thatamplification mechanisms contribute to different aspects of neuropathic pain at different levels of the neuraxis. Thus, PKMζ-dependent amplification contributes to nerve-injury induced aversivenesswithin the rACC. Moreover, unlike mechanisms maintaining memory, the consequences of PKMζ inhibition within the rACC are not permanent in neuropathic pain, possibly reflecting the re-establishment of amplification mechanisms by ongoing activity of injured nerves. In the spinal cord, however, both PKMζ-dependent and independent mechanisms contribute to amplification of evoked responses, but apparently not spontaneous pain.
rACC; spinal cord; PKMζ; ZIP; aversiveness; spontaneous pain; neuropathic pain
Patients with chronic pain experience spontaneous or ongoing pain as well as enhanced sensitivity to evoked stimuli. Spontaneous or ongoing pain is rarely evaluated in preclinical studies. In fact, it remains controversial whether ongoing or spontaneous pain even develops in mice after tissue or nerve injury. This study tested a hypothesis that negative reinforcement can be used to unmask the presence of pain in mice with tissue or nerve injury. We found that spinal administration of clonidine or lidocaine did not elicit CPP in uninjured or sham-operated mice. However, these agents produced CPP in mice with chronic inflammation induced by complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) or following L5/L6 spinal nerve ligation (SNL). These data indicate the presence of non-evoked (i.e., stimulus-independent) ongoing pain in mice with chronic inflammation (CFA) or following nerve injury (SNL). In addition, this study validates the use of negative reinforcement to unmask non-evoked ongoing pain in mice. Given the existence of a large collection of transgenic and knockout mice, our data show the application of this approach to elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying non-evoked pain and to contribute to drug discovery for pain.
We demonstrated the presence of non-evoked ongoing pain in mice with chronic inflammation or following nerve injury. The study also validates the use of negative reinforcement to unmask non-evoked pain in mice. We propose to apply this approach to identify molecular mechanisms and effective drugs for chronic pain.
spontaneous pain; conditioned place preference; neuropathic pain; inflammatory pain; negative reinforcement
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic condition characterized by pain during joint movement. Additionally, patients with advanced disease experience pain at rest (i.e., ongoing pain)that is generally resistant to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Injection of monosodium iodoacetate (MIA) into the intra-articular space of the rodent knee is a well-established model of OA that elicits weight-bearing asymmetry and referred tactile and thermal hypersensitivity. Whether ongoing pain is present in this model is unknown. Additionally, the possible relationship of ongoing pain to MIA dose is not known. MIA produced weight asymmetry, joint osteolysis, and cartilage erosion across a range of doses (1, 3, and 4.8 mg). However, only rats treated with the highest dose of MIA showed conditioned place preference to a context paired with intra-articular lidocaine, indicating relief from ongoing pain. Diclofenac blocked the MIA-induced weight asymmetry but failed to block MIA-induced ongoing pain. Systemic AMG9810, a TRPV1 antagonist, effectively blocked thermal hypersensitivity, but failed to block high dose MIA-induced weight asymmetry or ongoing pain. Additionally, systemic or intra-articular HC030031, a TRPA1 antagonist, failed to block high dose MIA-induced weight asymmetry or ongoing pain. Our studies suggest that a high dose of intra-articular MIA induces ongoing pain originating from the site of injury that is dependent on afferent fiber activity but apparently independent of TRPV1 or TRPA1 activation. Identification of mechanisms driving ongoing pain may enable development of improved treatments for patients with severe OA pain and diminish the need for joint replacement surgery.
Peroxynitrite (PN, ONOO−) is a potent oxidant and nitrating agent that contributes to pain through peripheral and spinal mechanisms, but its supraspinal role is unknown. We present evidence here that PN in the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) is essential for descending nociceptive modulation in rats during inflammatory and neuropathic pain through PN-mediated suppression of opioid signaling. Carrageenan-induced thermal hyperalgesia was associated with increased 3-nitrotyrosine (NT), a PN biomarker, in the RVM. Furthermore, intra-RVM microinjections of the PN decomposition catalyst (PNDC), Fe(III)-5,10,15,20-tetrakis(N-methyl-pyridinium-4-yl)porphyrin (FeTMPyP5+) dose-dependently reversed this thermal hyperalgesia. These effects of FeTMPyP5+ were abrogated by intra-RVM naloxone, implicating potential interplay between PN and opioids. In support, we identified NT co-localization with the endogenous opioid, enkephalin (ENK), in the RVM during thermal hyperalgesia, suggesting potential in situ interactions. To address the functional significance of such interactions, we exposed methionine-enkephalin (MENK) to PN and identified the major metabolite, 3-nitrotyrosine-methionine-sulfoxide (NSO-MENK), using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LCMS). Next, we isolated, purified, and tested NSO-MENK for opioid receptor binding affinity and analgesic effects. Compared to MENK, this NSO-MENK metabolite lacked appreciable binding affinity for δ, µ, and κ opioid receptors. Intrathecal injection of NSO-MENK in rats did not evoke antinociception suggesting that PN-mediated chemical modifications of ENK suppress opioid signaling. When extended to chronic pain, intra-RVM FeTMPyP5+ produced naloxone-sensitive reversal of mechanical allodynia in rats following chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve. Collectively, our data reveal the central role of PN in RVM descending facilitation during inflammatory and neuropathic pain potentially through anti-opioid activity.
Peroxynitrite; rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM); enkephalin; superoxide; descending modulation; descending facilitation; chronic pain; oxidative stress; nitrative stress; post-translational modification
Cholecystokinin (CCK) has been suggested to be both pro-nociceptive and anti-opioid by actions on pain modulatory cells within the RVM. One consequence of activation of RVM CCK2 receptors may be enhanced spinal nociceptive transmission but how this might occur, especially in states of pathological pain is unknown. Here, in vivo microdialysis was used to demonstrate that levels of RVM CCK increased by approximately 2-fold following ligation of L5/L6 spinal nerves (SNL). Microinjection of CCK into the RVM of naïve rats elicited hypersensitivity to tactile stimulation of the hindpaw. Additionally, RVM CCK elicited a time-related increase in PGE2 measured in cerebrospinal fluid from the lumbar spinal cord. The peak increase in spinal PGE2 was approximately 5-fold and was observed at approximately 80-min post-RVM CCK, a time coincident with maximal RVM CCK-induced mechanical hypersensitivity. Spinal administration of naproxen, a non-selective COX-inhibitor, significantly attenuated RVM CCK-induced hindpaw tactile hypersensitivity. RVM-CCK also resulted in a 2-fold increase in spinal 5-HIAA, a 5-HT metabolite, as compared to controls, and mechanical hypersensitivity that was attenuated by spinal application of ondansetron, a 5-HT3 antagonist. The present studies suggest that chronic nerve injury can result in activation of descending facilitatory mechanisms that may promote hyperalgesia via ultimate release of PGE2 and 5-HT in the spinal cord.
rostral ventromedial medulla; descending facilitation; cholecystokinin; serotonin; PGE2; microdialysis; tactile hypersensitivity; nerve injury
In order to obtain a metabolically more stable analgesic peptide derivative, O-β-glycosylated serine (Ser(Glc)) was introduced into TY027 (Tyr-D-Ala-Gly-Phe-Met-Pro-Leu-Trp-NH-3’,5’-Bzl(CF3)2) which was a previously reported bifunctional compound with delta/mu opioid agonist and neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist activities, and with a half life of 4.8 h in rat plasma. Incorporation of Ser(Glc) into various positions of TY027 gave analogues with variable bioactivities. Analogue 6 (Tyr-D-Ala-Gly-Phe-Nle-Pro-Leu-Ser(Glc)-Trp-NH-3’,5’-Bzl(CF3)2) was found to have effective bifunctional activities with a well-defined conformation with two β-turns based on the NMR conformational analysis in the presence of DPC micelles. In addition, 6 showed significant improvement in its metabolic stability (70 ± 9 % of 6 was intact after 24 h incubation in rat plasma). This improved metabolic stability, along with its effective and delta selective bifunctional activities, suggests that 6 could be an interesting research tool and possibly a promising candidate as a novel analgesic drug.
bifunctional peptide derivatives; glycopeptides; analgesics; opioid induced tolerance; opioid receptor agonist; neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist; conformation-activity relationships; NMR structure; DPC micelles
A puzzling observation is why peripheral nerve injury results in chronic pain in some, but not all, patients. We explored potential mechanisms that may prevent the expression of chronic pain. Sprague-Dawley (SD) or Holtzman (HZ) rats showed no differences in baseline sensory thresholds or responses to inflammatory stimuli. However, spinal nerve ligation (SNL)-induced tactile allodynia occurred in approximately 85% of SD and 50% of HZ rats, respectively. No apparent differences were observed in a survey of DRG or spinal “neuropathic markers” following SNL regardless of allodynic phenotype. SNL-induced allodynia was reversed by administration of lidocaine within the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM), a site that integrates descending pain modulation via pain inhibitory (i.e., OFF) and excitatory (i.e., ON) cells. However, in SD or HZ rats with SNL but without allodynia, RVM lidocaine precipitated allodynia. Additionally, RVM lidocaine produced conditioned place preference in allodynic SD or HZ rats but conditioned place aversion in non-allodynic HZ rats. Similarly, RVM U69,593 (kappa opioid agonist) or blockade of spinal α2 adrenergic receptors precipitated allodynia in previously non-allodynic HZ rats with SNL. All rats showed an equivalent first phase formalin responses. However, HZ rats had reduced second phase formalin behaviors along with fewer RVM OFF cell pauses and RVM ON cell bursts. Thus, expression of nerve-injury induced pain may ultimately depend on descending modulation. Engagement of descending inhibition protects in the transition from acute to chronic pain. These unexpected findings might provide a mechanistic explanation for medications that engage descending inhibition or mimic its consequences.
In Parkinson's disease (PD), the consequence of dopaminergic denervation is an imbalance in the activity of the direct and indirect striatofugal pathways, which include potentially important changes in opioid peptide expression and/or activity. The systemic administration of a novel glycosylated opioid peptide MMP-2200 (a.k.a. lactomorphin) was shown to have potent effects in two standard models of PD: 1) amphetamine-induced rotations in the hemi-Parkinsonian 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-treated rat and 2) locomotion in the reserpine-treated rat. MMP-2200, an opioid mu and delta receptor agonist, reduced amphetamine-induced rotations in severely-lesioned hemi-Parkinsonian rats; this effect was fully blocked by naloxone, an opioid receptor antagonist. The selective δ-opioid receptor antagonist naltrindole only partially blocked the effect of MMP-2200. MMP-2200 alone did not induce rotations. This effect was also observed in a mild progressive rat 6-OHDA-lesion model. In animals treated with reserpine, profound akinesia was induced that was reversed with apomorphine. There was a prominent overshoot in animals that received apomorphine compared to non-reserpine treated animals, reflecting the well described phenomenon of dopamine supersensitivity indicating that apomorphine not only reversed akinesia but induced hyper-kinesia. The opioid peptide MMP-2200 blocked the apomorphine-induced hyper-kinesia. This effect of MMP-2200 was prevented by pre-administration of naloxone. MMP-2200 had no effect in preventing the reserpine-induced akinesia, nor did it affect locomotion in control animals. Taken together, the results from these two models are consistent with the glycopeptide opioid agonist MMP-2200 having a potent effect on movements related to dopaminergic hyper-stimulation following striatal dopamine depletion that are best explained by a reduction in the downstream effects of dopamine agonists in these models.
6-OHDA; reserpine; †-opioid receptor; μ-opioid receptor; akinesia; dopaminergic hyper-stimulation
A predominant complaint in patients with neuropathic pain is spontaneous pain, often described as “burning”. Recent studies have demonstrated that negative reinforcement can be used to unmask spontaneous neuropathic pain allowing for mechanistic investigations. Here, ascending pathways that might contribute to evoked and spontaneous components of experimental neuropathic pain model were explored. Desensitization of TRPV1 positive fibers with systemic resiniferatoxin (RTX) abolished spinal nerve ligation (SNL) injury-induced thermal hypersensitivity and spontaneous pain, but had no effect on tactile hypersensitivity. Ablation of spinal NK-1 receptor expressing neurons blocked SNL-induced thermal and tactile hypersensitivity as well as spontaneous pain. Following nerve injury, upregulation of neuropeptide Y (NPY) is observed almost exclusively in large diameter fibers and inactivation of the brainstem target of these fibers in the n. gracilis prevents tactile, but not thermal, hypersensitivity. Blockade of NPY signaling within the n. gracilis failed to block SNL-induced spontaneous pain or thermal hyperalgesia while fully reversing tactile hypersensitivity. Moreover, microinjection of NPY into n. gracilis produced robust tactile hypersensitivity, but failed to induce conditioned place aversion. These data suggest that spontaneous neuropathic pain and thermal hyperalgesia are mediated by TRPV1 positive fibers and spinal NK-1 positive ascending projections. In contrast, the large diameter dorsal column projection can mediate nerve injury-induced tactile hypersensitivity, but does not contribute to spontaneous pain. As inhibition of tactile hypersensitivity can be achieved either by spinal manipulations or by inactivation of signaling within the n. gracilis, the enhanced paw withdrawal response evoked by tactile stimulation does not necessarily reflect “allodynia”.
Ongoing pain; nerve injury; NPY; TRPV1; tactile allodynia; thermal hyperalgesia
Tonic pain has been difficult to demonstrate in animals. Because relief of pain is rewarding, analgesic agents that are not rewarding in the absence of pain should become rewarding only when there is ongoing pain. We used conditioned place preference to concomitantly determine the presence of tonic pain in rats and the efficacy of agents that relieve it. This provides a new approach for investigating tonic pain in animals and for evaluating the analgesic effects of drugs.
Opioid induced hyperalgesia is recognised in the laboratory and the clinic, generating central hyperexcitability in the absence of peripheral pathology. We investigated pregabalin, indicated for neuropathic pain, and ondansetron, a drug that disrupts descending serotonergic processing in the central nervous system, on spinal neuronal hyperexcitability and visceral hypersensitivity in a rat model of opioid induced hyperalgesia.
Sprague-Dawley rats (180-200 g) were implanted with morphine (90μg · μl−1 · hr−1) or saline (0.9% w/v) filled osmotic mini-pumps. On days 7-10 in isoflurane anaesthetized animals we evaluated the effects of (a) systemic pregabalin on spinal neuronal and visceromotor responses and (b) spinal ondansetron on dorsal horn neuronal responses. The messenger RNA levels of α2δ-1, 5HT3A and mu-opioid receptor in the dorsal root ganglia of all animals were analysed.
In morphine-treated animals the evoked spinal neuronal responses were enhanced to a sub-set of thermal and mechanical stimuli. This activity was attenuated by pregabalin (by at least 71%) and ondansetron (37%), and the visceromotor response to a sub-set of colorectal distension pressures was attenuated by pregabalin (52.8%) (n = 8 for all measures, P < 0.05). Messenger RNA levels were unchanged.
The inhibitory action of pregabalin in opioid induced hyperalgesia animals is not neuropathy-dependent nor reliant on up-regulation of the α2δ-1 subunit of voltage gated calcium channels, mechanisms proposed essential for pregabalin’s efficacy in neuropathy. In opioid induced hyperalgesia, which extends to colonic distension, a serotonergic facilitatory system may be upregulated creating an environment that’s permissive for pregabalin-mediated analgesia without peripheral pathology.
Dorsal root injury results in substantial and often irreversible loss of sensory functions as a result of the limited regenerative capacity of sensory axons and the inhibitory barriers that prevent both axonal entry into and regeneration in the spinal cord. Here, we describe previously unknown effects of the growth factor artemin after crush injury of the dorsal spinal nerve roots in rats. Artemin not only promoted re-entry of multiple classes of sensory fibers into the spinal cord and re-establishment of synaptic function and simple behavior, but it also, surprisingly, promoted the recovery of complex behavior. These effects occurred after a 2-week schedule of intermittent, systemic administration of artemin and persisted for at least 6 months following treatment, suggesting a substantial translational advantage. Systemic artemin administration produced essentially complete and persistent restoration of nociceptive and sensorimotor functions, and could represent a promising therapy that may effectively promote sensory neuronal regeneration and functional recovery after injury.
Osteoarthritis (OA) isa chronic pain condition characterized by pain during joint useas well aspain at rest (i.e., ongoing pain). Although injection of monosodium iodoacetate (MIA)into the intra-articular space of the rodent knee is a well established model of OA pain that is characterized by changes in weight bearing and hypersensitivity to tactile and thermal stimuli, it is not known if this procedure elicits ongoing pain. Further, the time-course and possible underlying mechanisms of these components of pain remain poorly understood. In these studies, we demonstrated the presence ofongoing painin addition to changes in weight bearing and evoked hypersensitivity. Twenty-eight days following MIA injection, spinal clonidine blockedchanges in weight bearing and thermal hypersensitivityand produced place preference indicating that MIA induces ongoing and evoked pain.These findings demonstrate the presence of ongoing pain in this model that is present at a late-time point after MIA allowing for mechanistic investigation.
Osteoarthritis; ongoing pain; referred pain; allodynia; hyperalgesia
Neuropathic pain is often “spontaneous” or “stimulus-independent.” Such pain may result from spontaneous discharge in primary afferent nociceptors in injured peripheral nerves. However, whether axotomized primary afferent nociceptors give rise to pain is unclear. The rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) mediates the negative affective component of inflammatory pain. Whether the rACC integrates the aversive component of chronic spontaneous pain arising from nerve injury is not known. Here, we used the principle of negative reinforcement to show that axotomy produces an aversive state reflecting spontaneous pain driven from injured nerves. Additionally, we investigated whether the rACC contributes to the aversiveness of nerve injury induced spontaneous pain. Partial or complete hindpaw denervation was produced by sciatic or sciatic/saphenous axotomy, respectively. Conditioned place preference resulting from presumed pain relief was observed following spinal clonidinein animals with sciatic axotomy but not in sham-operated controls. Similarly, lidocaine administration into the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) produced place preference selectively in animals with sciatic/saphenous axotomy. In rats with spinal nerve ligation (SNL) injury lesion of the rACC blocked the reward elicited by RVM lidocaine but did not alter acute stimulus evoked hypersensitivity. Lesion of the rACC did not block cocaine-induced reward indicating that rACC blockade did not impair memory encoding or retrieval but did impair spontaneous aversiveness. These data indicate that spontaneous pain arising from injured nerve fibers produces a tonic aversive state that is mediated by the rACC. Identification of the circuits mediating aversiveness of chronic pain should facilitate the development of improved therapies.
Spontaneous pain; axotomy; nerve injury; anterior cingulate cortex; negative reinforcement
Opiates are currently the mainstay for treatment of moderate to severe pain. However, prolonged administration of opiates has been reported to elicit hyperalgesia in animals and examples of opiate-induced hyperalgesia have been reported in humans as well. In spite of the potential clinical significance of such opiate-induced actions, the mechanisms of opiate-induced hypersensitivity remain unknown. The TRPV1 receptor, a molecular sensor of noxious heat, acts as an integrator of multiple forms of noxious stimuli and plays an important role in the development of inflammation-induced hyperalgesia. As animals treated with opiates show thermal hyperalgesia, we examined the possible role of TRPV1 receptors in the development of morphine-induced hyperalgesia using TRPV1 wild-type (WT) and knock-out (KO) mice and with administration of a TRPV1 antagonist in mice and rats. Administration of morphine by subcutaneous implantation of morphine pellets elicited both thermal and tactile hypersensitivity in TRPV1 WT mice, but not in TRPV1 KO mice. Moreover, oral administration of a TRPV1 antagonist reversed both thermal and tactile hypersensitivity induced by sustained morphine administration in mice and rats. Immunohistochemical analyses indicate that sustained morphine administration modestly increases TRPV1 labeling in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG). In addition, sustained morphine increased flinching and plasma extravasation after peripheral stimulation with capsaicin, suggesting an increase in TRPV1 receptor function in the periphery in morphine treated animals. Collectively our data indicate that the TRPV1 receptor is an essential peripheral mechanism in expression of morphine-induced hyperalgesia.
Opioid-induced hyperalgesia possibly limits the usefulness of opioids, emphasizing the value of alternative methods of pain control. We demonstrate that TRPV1 channels play an important role in peripheral mechanisms of opioid-induced hyperalgesia. Such information may lead to the discovery of analgesics lacking such adaptations and improving treatment of chronic pain.
The conventional design of high affinity drugs targeted to a single molecule has not resulted in clinically useful therapies for pain relief. Recent reviews have suggested that newly designed analgesic drugs should incorporate multiple targets. The distributions of cholecystokinin (CCK) and CCK receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) overlap significantly with endogenous opioid systems and can be dually targeted. CCK has been shown to act as an endogenous “anti-analgesic” peptide and neuropathic pain conditions promote endogenous CCK release in CNS regions of pain modulation. Administration of CCK into nuclei of the rostral ventromedial medulla induces pronociceptive behaviors in rats. RSA 504 and RSA 601 are novel bifunctional compounds developed to target neuropathic pain by simultaneously acting as agonists at two distinct opioid receptors and antagonizing CCK receptors in the CNS. RSA 504 and RSA 601 demonstrate agonist activity in vitro and antihypersensitivity to mechanical and thermal stimuli in vivo using the spinal nerve ligation model of neuropathic pain. Intrathecal administration of RSA 504 and RSA 601 did not demonstrate antinociceptive tolerance over 7 days of administration and did not display motor impairment or sedation using a rotarod. These are the first behavioral studies that demonstrate how multi-targeted molecule design can address the pathology of neuropathic pain. These compounds with δ and μ opioid agonist activity and CCK antagonist activity within one molecule offer a novel approach with efficacy for neuropathic pain while lacking the side effects typically caused by conventional opioid therapies.
neuropathic pain; spinal nerve ligation; cholecystokinin; opioids
Multivalent ligands with delta/mu opioid agonist and NK1 antagonist activities have shown promising analgesic potency without detectable sign of toxicities, including motor skill impairment and opioid-induced tolerance. To improve their biological activities and metabolic stability, structural optimization was performed on our peptide-derived lead compounds by introducing 2′, 6′-Dimethyl-L-Tyrosine (Dmt) instead of Tyr at the first position. The compound 7 (Dmt-D-Ala-Gly-Phe-MetPro-Leu-Trp-NH-[3′,5′-(CF3)2-Bzl]) showed improved multivalent bioactivities compared to those of the lead compounds, had more than 6 h half-life in rat plasma, and significant antinociceptive efficacy in vivo. The NMR structural analysis suggested that Dmt1 incorporation in compound 7 induces the structured conformation in the opioid pharmacophore (N-terminus), and simultaneously shifts the orientation of the NK1 pharmacophore (C-terminus), consistent with its affinities and activities at both opioid and NK1 receptors. These results indicate that compound 7 is a valuable research tool to seek a novel analgesic drug.
analgesics; bifunctional peptide derivatives; 2′, 6′-Dimethyl-L-Tyrosine; DPC micelle; opioid induced tolerance; opioid receptor agonist; neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist; NMR structure
A screening of conformationally constrained aromatic amino acids as base cores for the preparation of new NK1 receptor antagonists resulted in the discovery of three new NK1 receptor antagonists, 19 [Ac-Aba-Gly-NH-3′,5′-(CF3)2-Bn], 20 [Ac-Aba-Gly-NMe-3′,5′-(CF3)2-Bn] and 23 [Ac-Tic-NMe-3′,5′-(CF3)2-Bn], which were able to counteract the agonist effect of substance P, the endogenous ligand of NK1R. The most active NK1 antagonist of the series, 20 [Ac-Aba-Gly-NMe-3′,5′-(CF3)2-Bn], was then used in the design of a novel, potent chimeric opioid agonist-NK1 receptor antagonist, 35 [Dmt-D-Arg-Aba-Gly-NMe-3′,5′-(CF3)2-Bn], which combines the N-terminus of the established Dmt1-DALDA agonist opioid pharmacophore (H-Dmt-D-Arg-Phe-Lys-NH2) and 20, the NK1R ligand. The opioid component of the chimeric compound 35, i.e. Dmt-D-Arg-Aba-Gly-NH2 36, also proved to be an extremely potent and balanced μ- and δ opioid receptor agonist with subnanomolar binding and in vitro functional activity.
NK1 receptor antagonists; opioids; multitarget drug design; designed multiple ligands
Pancreatic pain resulting from chronic inflammation of the pancreas is often intractable and clinically difficult to manage with available analgesics reflecting the need for more effective therapies. Mechanisms underlying pancreatitis pain are not well understood. Here, the possibility that interleukin-6 (IL-6) may promote pancreatitis pain was investigated with TB-2-081 (3-O-formyl-20R,21-epoxyresibufogenin, EBRF), a small molecule IL-6 receptor antagonist that was semi-synthetically derived from natural sources. The potential activity and mechanism of TB-2-081 was investigated following induction of persistent pancreatitis using dibutyltin dichloride (DBTC) in rats. TB-2-081 displaces binding of IL-6 to the human recombinant soluble IL-6 receptor with apparent high affinity and inhibits IL-6 mediated cell growth. Systemic or oral, but not intrathecal, administration of TB-2-081 reversed DBTC-induced abdominal hypersensitivity in a dose- and time-dependent manner. IL-6 levels were significantly upregulated in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of rats with pancreatitis on day 6 after DBTC injection. IL-6 enhanced capsaicin-evoked release of calcitonin gene related peptide from cultured DRG neurons was blocked by TB-2-081. Our data demonstrate that TB-2-081 acts as a systemically available and orally active small molecule IL-6 receptor antagonist. TB-2-081 effectively reduces pancreatitis-induced pain through peripheral mechanisms that are likely due to (a) increased expression of IL-6 in the DRG and (b) IL-6-mediated sensitization of nociceptive neurons. The activity of TB-2-081 implicates an important role for IL-6 in sustaining pancreatitis pain. Strategies targeting IL-6 actions through small molecule antagonists may offer novel approaches to improve therapy of chronic pancreatitis and other chronic pain states.
An SAR study on the Dmt-substituted enkephalin-like tetrapeptide with a N-phenyl-N-piperidin-4-yl propionamide moiety at C-terminal was performed, and has resulted in highly potent ligands at μ and δ opioid receptors. In general, ligands with the substitution of D-Nle2 and halogenation of the aromatic ring of Phe4 showed highly increased opioid activities. Ligand 6 with good biological activities in vitro demonstrated potent in vivo antihyperalgesic and antiallodynic effects in the tail-flick assay.
Migraine headache is one of the most common neurological disorders. The pathological conditions that directly initiate afferent pain signaling are poorly understood. In trigeminal neurons retrogradely labeled from the cranial meninges, we have recorded pH-evoked currents using whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology. Approximately 80% of dural afferent neurons responded to a pH 6.0 application with a rapidly activating and rapidly desensitizing ASIC-like current that often exceeded 20 nA in amplitude. Inward currents were observed in response to a wide range of pH values and 30% of the neurons exhibited inward currents at pH 7.1. These currents led to action potentials in 53%, 30% and 7% of the dural afferents at pH 6.8, 6.9 and 7.0, respectively. Small decreases in extracellular pH were also able to generate sustained window currents and sustained membrane depolarizations. Amiloride, a non specific blocker of ASIC channels, inhibited the peak currents evoked upon application of decreased pH while no inhibition was observed upon application of TRPV1 antagonists. The desensitization time constants of pH 6.0-evoked currents in the majority of dural afferents was less than 500 ms which is consistent with that reported for ASIC3 homomeric or heteromeric channels. Finally, application of pH 5.0 synthetic-interstitial fluid to the dura produced significant decreases in facial and hind-paw withdrawal threshold, an effect blocked by amiloride but not TRPV1 antagonists, suggesting that ASIC activation produces migraine-related behavior in vivo. These data provide a cellular mechanism by which decreased pH in the meninges following ischemic or inflammatory events directly excites afferent pain-sensing neurons potentially contributing to migraine headache.
pain; migraine; ASIC; dural afferent; headache; meninges