Potentiation of morphine analgesia by adjuvant activation of 5-HT7 receptors.

Department of Pharmacology, Drug Discovery and Preclinical Development, Esteve, Spain.
Journal of Pharmacological Sciences (Impact Factor: 2.15). 08/2011; 116(4):388-91.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Spinal blockade of 5-HT7 receptors has been reported to inhibit the antinociceptive effect of opioids. In this study, we found that subcutaneous administration of the selective 5-HT7 receptor agonist E-55888 (10 mg/kg) or the antagonist SB-258719 (5 mg/kg) exerted no effect on the tail-flick test in mice. However, E-55888, but not SB-258719, increased (2.6-fold) the analgesic potency of oral morphine. The potentiating effect exerted by E-55888 was prevented by SB-258719. A pharmacokinetic interaction was discarded as morphine plasma and brain concentrations were not significantly modified when co-administered with E-55888. These results reinforce the involvement of 5-HT7 receptors in opioid analgesia and point to a potential use of 5-HT7 receptor agonists as adjuvants of opioid analgesia.

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    ABSTRACT: Among monoamine neurotransmitters, serotonin (5-HT) is known to play complex modulatory roles in pain signaling mechanisms since the first reports, about forty years ago, on its essentially pro-nociceptive effects at the periphery and anti-nociceptive effects when injected directly at the spinal cord level. The discovery of multiple 5-HT receptor subtypes allowed possible explanations to this dual action at the periphery versus the central nervous system (CNS) since both excitatory and inhibitory effects can be exerted through 5-HT activation of different 5-HT receptors. However, it also appeared that activation of the same receptor subtype at CNS level might induce variable effects depending on the physiological or pathophysiological status of the animal administered with agonists. In particular, the marked neuroplastic changes induced by nerve lesion, which account for sensitization of pain signaling mechanisms, can contribute to dramatic changes in the effects of a given 5-HT receptor agonist in neuropathic rats versus intact healthy rats. This has notably been observed with 5-HT7 receptor agonists which exert a pronociceptive action in healthy rats but alleviate hyperalgesia consecutive to nerve lesion in neuropathic animals. Analysis of cellular mechanisms underlying such dual 5-HT actions mediated by a single receptor subtype indicates that the neuronal phenotype which expresses this receptor also plays a key role in determining which modulatory action 5-HT would finally exert on pain signaling mechanisms.
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