Inhibition of Gβγ-subunit signaling potentiates morphine-induced antinociception but not respiratory depression, constipation, locomotion, and reward

aTorrey Pines Institute of Molecular Studies, Port St Lucie, Florida bDepartment of Psychology, Northeastern University cDepartment of Psychology, Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts dDepartment of Pharmacology and Physiology, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA.
Behavioural pharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.15). 04/2013; 24(2):144-52. DOI: 10.1097/FBP.0b013e32835f3d2f
Source: PubMed


Inhibition of Gβγ-subunit signaling to phospholipase C β3 has been shown to potentiate morphine-mediated antinociception while attenuating the development of tolerance and dependence in mice. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of Gβγ-subunit inhibition on antinociception and other pharmacological effects, such as respiratory depression, constipation, and hyperlocomotion, mediated by the μ-opioid receptor. The Gβγ-subunit inhibitor, gallein, was administered to C57BL/6J mice by intraperitoneal injection before morphine, and data were compared with mice treated with vehicle, morphine, or gallein alone. Morphine-induced antinociception was measured using the 55°C warm-water tail-withdrawal test. Pretreatment with gallein produced a dose-dependent potentiation of morphine-mediated antinociception, producing up to a 10-fold leftward shift in the morphine dose-response curve and extending the duration of antinociception induced by a single dose of morphine. Gallein pretreatment also prevented acute antinociceptive tolerance induced by morphine. In contrast, the dose-dependent respiratory depression and hyperlocomotion induced by morphine were not potentiated by gallein pretreatment. Similarly, gallein pretreatment did not potentiate morphine-conditioned place preference responses or morphine-induced constipation, as measured as a reduction in excreta. These results suggest that selectively inhibiting Gβγ-mediated signaling may selectively increase μ-opioid receptor-mediated antinociception without matching increases in adverse physiological effects.

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