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Eur J Pharmacol. 2004 Jan 26;484(2-3):175-81.

Lactoferrin enhances peripheral opioid-mediated antinociception via nitric oxide in rats.

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Department of Veterinary Physiology, Faculty of Agriculture, Tottori University, Tottori 680-0945, Japan


Lactoferrin (LF) is a multifunctional protein found in various biological fluids. However, the peripheral action of lactoferrin remains unknown. In this study, peripherally applied bovine lactoferrin showed antinociceptive effect that was reversed by a mu-opioid receptor antagonist, D-Phe-Cys-Tyr-D-Trp-Orn-Thr-NH(2) (CTOP), or by a nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor, N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), but not by an inactive enantiomer of L-NAME, N(G)-nitro-D-arginine methyl ester (D-NAME), during phase 1 and phase 2 in the rat formalin test. Peripheral coadministration of a micro-opioid receptor agonist, morphine, with subeffective dose of bovine lactoferrin produced a potentiated antinociceptive effect compared to that of morphine alone during both phases in the formalin test. This potentiated antinociception by morphine with bovine lactoferrin was reversed by CTOP or by L-NAME. These results suggest that bovine lactoferrin exerts an antinociceptive activity via potentiation of the peripheral micro-opioidergic system, and that nitric oxide (NO) is involved in this potentiation.

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