The delta opioid receptor: an evolving target for the treatment of brain disorders.
ABSTRACT Compared to the better-known mu opioid receptor, delta opioid receptors have been relatively understudied. However, the development of highly selective delta opioid agonists and the availability of genetic mouse models have extended our knowledge of delta opioid receptors in vivo. Here we review recent developments in the characterization of delta opioid receptor biology and aspects of delta opioid receptor function that have potential for therapeutic targeting. Preclinical data have confirmed that delta opioid receptor activation reduces persistent pain and improves negative emotional states; clinical trials have been initiated to assess the effectiveness of delta opioid agonists in chronic pain and depression. Furthermore, a possible role for these receptors in neuroprotection is being investigated. The usefulness of targeting delta opioid receptors in drug abuse remains open and a role for these receptors in impulse control disorders is emerging. Finally, the recent demonstration of biased agonism at the delta opioid receptor in vivo opens novel perspectives towards targeting specific therapeutic effects through drug design.
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Ligand-directed signaling has been suggested as a basis for the differences in responses evoked by otherwise receptor-selective agonists. The underlying mechanisms are not understood, yet clearer definition of this concept may be helpful in the development of novel, pathway-selective therapeutic agents. We previously showed that kappa-opioid receptor activation of JNK by one class of ligand, but not another, caused persistent receptor inactivation. In the current study, we found that the mu-opioid receptor (MOR) could be similarly inactivated by a specific ligand class including the prototypical opioid, morphine. Acute analgesic tolerance to morphine and related opioids (morphine-6-glucuronide and buprenorphine) was blocked by JNK inhibition, but not by G protein receptor kinase 3 knockout. In contrast, a second class of mu-opioids including fentanyl, methadone, and oxycodone produced acute analgesic tolerance that was blocked by G protein receptor kinase 3 knockout, but not by JNK inhibition. Acute MOR desensitization, demonstrated by reduced D-Ala(2)-Met(5)-Glyol-enkephalin-stimulated [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding to spinal cord membranes from morphine-pretreated mice, was also blocked by JNK inhibition; however, desensitization of D-Ala(2)-Met(5)-Glyol-enkephalin-stimulated [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding following fentanyl pretreatment was not blocked by JNK inhibition. JNK-mediated receptor inactivation of the kappa-opioid receptor was evident in both agonist-stimulated [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding and opioid analgesic assays; however, gene knockout of JNK 1 selectively blocked kappa-receptor inactivation, whereas deletion of JNK 2 selectively blocked MOR inactivation. These findings suggest that ligand-directed activation of JNK kinases may generally provides an alternate mode of G protein-coupled receptor regulation.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2010; 107(25):11608-13. · 9.68 Impact Factor
Article: Opioids.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Opioids are the most effective and widely used drugs in the treatment of severe pain. They act through G protein-coupled receptors. Four families of endogenous ligands (opioid peptides) are known. The standard exogenous opioid analgesic is morphine. Opioid agonists can activate central and peripheral opioid receptors. Three classes of opioid receptors (mu, delta, kappa) have been identified. Multiple pathways ofopioid receptor signaling (e.g., G(i/o) coupling, cAMP inhibition, Ca++ channel inhibition) have been described. The differential regulation of effectors, preclinical pharmacology, clinical applications, and side effects will be reviewed in this chapter.Handbook of experimental pharmacology 02/2007;
Article: Behavioral and neurobiological effects of the enkephalinase inhibitor RB101 relative to its antidepressant effects.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Nonpeptidic delta-opioid receptor agonists produce antidepressant-like effects in rodents, and compounds that inhibit the breakdown of endogenous opioid peptides have antidepressant-like effects in animal models. In this study, the behavioral effects of the enkephalinase inhibitor, RB101 (N-[(R, S)-2-benzyl-3-[(S)(2-amino-4-methyl-thio)-butyldithio]-1-oxopropyl]-l-phenylalanine benzyl ester), were examined. Specifically, the effects of RB101 on convulsive activity, locomotor activity, and antidepressant-like effects in the forced swim test were studied in Sprague-Dawley rats, and the opioid receptor types mediating these effects were examined by antagonist studies. In addition, the effects of RB101 on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA expression were evaluated in relation to its antidepressant effects. RB101 produced delta-opioid receptor-mediated antidepressant effects (32 mg/kg i.v. and 100 mg/kg i.p.) and increased locomotor activity (32 mg/kg i.v.) in rats. RB101 did not produce convulsions or seizures and did not alter BDNF mRNA expression. In conclusion, RB101 has the potential to produce antidepressant effects without convulsions.European Journal of Pharmacology 03/2006; 531(1-3):151-9. · 2.52 Impact Factor