Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Opioid Induced Itch

Our widely used and frequently published Opioid Receptors Antibodies are used for a spectrum of pain research. Here is an interesting study on the root causes of opioid induced itch.

Xian-Yu Liu, Zhong-Chun Liu, Yan-Gang Sun, Michael Ross1, Seungil Kim, Feng-Fang Tsai, Qi-Fang Li, Joseph Jeffry, Ji-Young Kim, Horace H. Loh, Zhou-Feng Chen. Unidirectional Cross-Activation of GRPR by MOR1D Uncouples Itch and Analgesia Induced by Opioids. Cell, Volume 147, Issue 2, 14 October 2011, Pages 261-262.

Root Causes: Spinal opioid-induced itch, a prevalent side effect of pain management, has been proposed to result from pain inhibition. We now report that the μ-opioid receptor (MOR) isoform MOR1D is essential for morphine-induced scratching (MIS), whereas the isoform MOR1 is required only for morphine-induced analgesia (MIA). MOR1D heterodimerizes with gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) in the spinal cord, relaying itch information. We show that morphine triggers internalization of both GRPR and MOR1D, whereas GRP specifically triggers GRPR internalization and morphine-independent scratching. Providing potential insight into opioid-induced itch prevention, we demonstrate that molecular and pharmacologic inhibition of PLCβ3 and IP3R3, downstream effectors of GRPR, specifically block MIS but not MIA. In addition, blocking MOR1D-GRPR association attenuates MIS but not MIA. Together, these data suggest that opioid-induced itch is an active process concomitant with but independent of opioid analgesia, occurring via the unidirectional cross-activation of GRPR signaling by MOR1D heterodimerization.

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