The researchers say the finding in animal models may ultimately make morphine a safer and more effective drug.
Traditionally opioids were used to relieve pain following surgery, from cancer and at the end of life. Today opioids are used widely for chronically painful conditions like osteoarthritis and back pain and may need to be prescribed for decades.
Morphine, the gold standard for controlling moderate to severe pain, has debilitating side effects including reduced respiration, constipation, itching and addiction. Patients also develop a tolerance to morphine which can lead to a complicated spiral.
"In addition to the recognized side effects, morphine actually creates sensitivity and causes more pain through inducing an inflammatory response in the body," said first author Natalie Wilson, a National Science Foundation Fellow at the IU School of Medicine.
This increased sensitivity is clinically known as opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH). Frequently, patients receiving opioids for pain control may actually become more sensitive to certain painful stimuli necessitating an increased opioid dosage. OIH may also represent one of many reasons for declining levels of analgesia while receiving opioids or a worsening pain syndrome.
"The drug itself is producing its own new pain," said Fletcher A. White, Ph.D., Vergil K. Stoelting Professor of Anesthesia and director of Anesthesia Research at the IU School of Medicine. "I tend to view it as an injury as it appears to be creating another pain."
Dr. White explained that morphine sets into motion a cascade of events, one of which is to increase molecular communication to and from the nerves by a protein known as CXCR4. This increase in CXCR4 signaling contributes to a neuroinflammatory response causing increased sensitivity and additional pain.
Drs. Wilson and White and colleagues administered AMD3100, an orphan drug known to block the CXCR4 response, to rats. By halting the signaling process, the researchers interrupted the OIH response, Dr. White explained. "If this translates appropriately in people, this application would likely make morphine a safer, more effective drug for chronic pain control."
The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Co-authors are Richard J. Miller, Ph.D., and Hosung Jung, Ph.D., both molecular pharmacologist at Northwestern University.
Mary L. Hardin | EurekAlert!
Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering