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Br J Pharmacol. 2009 Jul;157(5):831-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2009.00209.x. Epub 2009 Apr 30.

Identification of an additional supraspinal component to the analgesic mechanism of action of buprenorphine.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Temple University School of Pharmacy, Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Buprenorphine displays attributes of opioids, but also some features distinct from them. We examined spinal and supraspinal signal transduction of buprenorphine-induced anti-nociception in mice compared with morphine and fentanyl.

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH:

The opioid receptor antagonist naloxone, Pertussis toxin (PTX), G(z) protein antisense and nociceptin/orphanin-FQ receptor agonist nociceptin, and antagonist, JTC-801, were injected supraspinally (intracerebroventricular) and spinally (intrathecal). Also the cell-permeable Ser/Thr protein phosphatase inhibitor okadaic acid was given supraspinally.

KEY RESULTS:

Spinal naloxone (20 microg) or PTX (1 microg) attenuated morphine, fentanyl and buprenorphine (s.c.) anti-nociception. Supraspinal naloxone or PTX attenuated morphine and fentanyl, but not buprenorphine anti-nociception. Spinal G(z) protein antisense did not alter buprenorphine, morphine or fentanyl anti-nociception and supraspinal G(z)-antisense did not alter morphine or fentanyl anti-nociception. However, supraspinal G(z)-antisense (not random sense) reduced buprenorphine anti-nociception. Peripheral JTC-801 (1 mgxkg(-1), i.p.) enhanced the ascending (3 mgxkg(-1)) and descending (30 mgxkg(-1)) portions of buprenorphine's dose-response curve, but only spinal, not supraspinal, nociceptin (10 nmolxL(-1)) enhanced buprenorphine anti-nociception. Intracereboventricular okadaic acid (0.001-10 pg) produced a biphasic low-dose attenuation, high-dose enhancement of buprenorphine(3 or 30 mgxkg(-1), s.c.) anti-nociception, but did not affect morphine or fentanyl anti-nociception.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

Buprenorphine has an opioid component to its supraspinal mechanism of analgesic action. Our present results reveal an additional supraspinal component insensitive to naloxone, PTX and nociceptin/orphanin-FQ, but involving G(z) protein and Ser/Thr protein phosphatase. These data might help explain the unique preclinical and clinical profiles of buprenorphine.

PMID:
19422392
PMCID:
PMC2721267
DOI:
10.1111/j.1476-5381.2009.00209.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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