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Eur J Neurosci. 2006 Apr;23(8):2158-68.

Evidence for a role of CaMKIV in the development of opioid analgesic tolerance.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain, 1 King's College Circle, Medical Sciences Building Rm3342, Toronto, Canada, M5S 1A8.


cAMP response-element binding protein (CREB), a transcription factor involved in learning, memory and drug addiction, is phosphorylated by calcium-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IV (CaMKIV). Here, we show that CaMKIV-knockout (KO) mice developed less analgesic tolerance after chronic morphine administration with no alteration in physical dependence or acute morphine-induced analgesia. The increase in phosphorylated CREB expression observed in wild-type mice after chronic morphine was absent in CaMKIV-KO mice, while there was no difference in the expression or phosphorylation of the micro-opioid receptor between groups. Morphine-treated CaMKIV-KO mice showed less G-protein uncoupling from the micro-opioid receptor than did wild-type mice, while uncoupling was similar in control wild-type and KO mice. In addition, morphine reduced inhibitory transmission to a greater degree in CaMKIV-KO mice than in controls after chronic morphine exposure. Our results provide novel evidence for the role of CaMKIV in the development of opioid analgesic tolerance but not physical dependence.

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