[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Morphine is a classic analgesic for the treatment of chronic pain. However, it's repeated use is known to produce tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction; these properties limit its long-term therapeutic use and this has led to a quest for therapeutics without these unwanted side effects. Understanding the molecular changes in response to long-term use of morphine is likely to aid in the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of pain. Studies examining the effects of chronic morphine administration have reported alterations in gene expression, synapse morphology, and synaptic transmission implying changes in synaptic protein profile. To fully understand the changes in protein profiles, proteomic techniques have been used. Studies using 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis of various brain regions combined with mass spectrometry have found alterations in the levels of a number of proteins. However, neither the changes in brain regions relevant to morphine effects, nor changes in the abundance of synaptic proteins have been clearly delineated. Recent studies employing subcellular fractionation, to isolate the striatal synapse, combined with quantitative proteomics and graph theory-inspired network analyses have begun to quantify morphine-regulated changes in synaptic proteins and facilitate the generation of networks that could serve as targets for the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of chronic pain. Thus an integrated quantitative proteomics and systems biology approach can be useful to identify novel targets for the treatment of pain and other disorders of the brain.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 18 September 2013. doi:10.1038/npp.2013.227.
Preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The diversity of receptor signaling is increased by receptor heteromerization leading to dynamic regulation of receptor function. While a number of studies have demonstrated that family A G-protein-coupled receptors are capable of forming heteromers in vitro, the role of these heteromers in normal physiology and disease has been poorly explored. In this study, direct interactions between CB(1) cannabinoid and delta opioid receptors in the brain were examined. Additionally, regulation of heteromer levels and signaling in a rodent model of neuropathic pain was explored. First we examined changes in the expression, function and interaction of these receptors in the cerebral cortex of rats with a peripheral nerve lesion that resulted in neuropathic pain. We found that, following the peripheral nerve lesion, the expression of both cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB(1)R) and the delta opioid receptor (DOR) are increased in select brain regions. Concomitantly, an increase in CB(1)R activity and decrease in DOR activity was observed. We hypothesize that this decrease in DOR activity could be due to heteromeric interactions between these two receptors. Using a CB(1)R-DOR heteromer-specific antibody, we found increased levels of CB(1)R-DOR heteromer protein in the cortex of neuropathic animals. We subsequently examined the functionality of these heteromers by testing whether low, non-signaling doses of CB(1)R ligands influenced DOR signaling in the cortex. We found that, in cortical membranes from animals that experienced neuropathic pain, non-signaling doses of CB(1)R ligands significantly enhanced DOR activity. Moreover, this activity is selectively blocked by a heteromer-specific antibody. Together, these results demonstrate an important role for CB(1)R-DOR heteromers in altered cortical function of DOR during neuropathic pain. Moreover, they suggest the possibility that a novel heteromer-directed therapeutic strategy for enhancing DOR activity, could potentially be employed to reduce anxiety associated with chronic pain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Opiates such as morphine and fentanyl, a major class of analgesics used in the clinical management of pain, exert their effects through the activation of opioid receptors. Opioids are among the most commonly prescribed and frequently abused drugs in the USA; however, the prolonged use of opiates often leads to the development of tolerance and addiction. Although blockade of opioid receptors with antagonists such as naltrexone and naloxone can lessen addictive impulses and facilitate recovery from overdose, systemic disruption of endogenous opioid receptor signalling through the use of these antagonistic drugs can have severe side effects. In the light of these challenges, current efforts have focused on identifying new therapeutic targets that selectively and specifically modulate opioid receptor signalling and function so as to achieve analgesia without the adverse effects associated with chronic opiate use. We have previously reported that opioid receptors interact with each other to form heteromeric complexes and that these interactions affect morphine signalling. Since chronic morphine administration leads to an enhanced level of these heteromers, these opioid receptor heteromeric complexes represent novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of pain and opiate addiction. In this review, we discuss the role of heteromeric opioid receptor complexes with a focus on mu opioid receptor (MOR) and delta opioid receptor (DOR) heteromers. We also highlight the evidence for altered pharmacological properties of opioid ligands and changes in ligand function resulting from the heteromer formation.
Preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Morphine and other opiates are among the most widely prescribed and clinically useful medications for the treatment of chronic pain. However, the applicability of these compounds has been severely hampered by the rapid development of tolerance and physical dependence that typically accompanies their repeated use. A growing body of evidence has implicated the regulated functioning of μ-δ opioid receptor heteromers in both the modulation of morphine-mediated antinociception, and in the limitation of undesirable side effects resulting from chronic opiate exposure. Moreover, μ-δ heteromers exhibit unique ligand binding characteristics and signaling properties, indicating that pharmacological targeting of the μ-δ heteromer may represent a novel therapeutic approach for the management of chronic pain and addiction disorders. Therefore, the present review will attempt to summarize the latest relevant findings regarding the regulation and functional characteristics of the μ-δ heteromer both in vitro and in vivo.
Preview · Article · Nov 2011 · Drug and alcohol dependence
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Opiates produce significant and persistent changes in synaptic transmission; knowledge of the proteins involved in these changes may help to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying opiate dependence. Using an integrated quantitative proteomics and systems biology approach, we explored changes in the presynaptic protein profile following a paradigm of chronic morphine administration that leads to the development of dependence. For this, we isolated presynaptic fractions from the striata of rats treated with saline or escalating doses of morphine, and analyzed the proteins in these fractions using differential isotopic labeling. We identified 30 proteins that were significantly altered by morphine and integrated them into a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network representing potential morphine-regulated protein complexes. Graph theory-based analysis of this network revealed clusters of densely connected and functionally related morphine-regulated clusters of proteins. One of the clusters contained molecular chaperones thought to be involved in regulation of neurotransmission. Within this cluster, cysteine-string protein (CSP) and the heat shock protein Hsc70 were downregulated by morphine. Interestingly, Hsp90, a heat shock protein that normally interacts with CSP and Hsc70, was upregulated by morphine. Moreover, treatment with the selective Hsp90 inhibitor, geldanamycin, decreased the somatic signs of naloxone-precipitated morphine withdrawal, suggesting that Hsp90 upregulation at the presynapse plays a role in the expression of morphine dependence. Thus, integration of proteomics, network analysis, and behavioral studies has provided a greater understanding of morphine-induced alterations in synaptic composition, and identified a potential novel therapeutic target for opiate dependence.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) are composed of insoluble, hyperphosphorylated aggregates of the microtubule-associated protein tau and are present in various neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). To investigate how tau affects neuronal function during NFT formation and subsequent neurodegeneration, we examined the morphology, spine density, spine type, and spine volume of layer III pyramidal neurons from the prefrontal cortex of mice expressing wild-type human tau (htau) over time. There were no significant alterations in apical dendritic arbor length in 3-, 6-, and 12-month-old htau mice; however, 12-month-old mice exhibited more complex arborization patterns. In addition, we observed a shift in spine morphology with fewer mushroom and more thin spines in both apical and basal dendrites as a function of htau accumulation. Interestingly, there was an overall decrease in volume of spines from 3 to 12 months. However, the volume of mushroom spines decreased from 3 to 6 months and increased from 6 to 12 months. This increase in complexity and branching in 12-month-old mice and the increase of volume of mushroom spines may represent compensatory mechanisms in the remaining intact neurons. As such, the accumulation of phosphorylated tau over time may contribute to the cognitive decline observed in AD by affecting neuronal structure and synaptic properties. Such alterations in dendrites and spines may result in the deterioration of neuronal function observed in AD, and provide a morphologic substrate for the relationship between synaptic integrity and cognitive decline.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2010 · Brain Structure and Function
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent findings indicate that vascular risk factors and neurovascular dysfunction play integral roles in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. In addition to aging, the most common risk factors for Alzheimer's disease are apolipoprotein e4 allele, hypertension, hypotension, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia. All of these can be characterized by vascular pathology attributed to conditions such as cerebral amyloid angiopathy and subsequent blood-brain barrier dysfunction. Many epidemiological, clinical, and pharmacotherapeutic studies have assessed the associations between such risk factors and Alzheimer's disease and have found positive associations between hypertension, hypotension, and diabetes mellitus. However, there are still many conflicting results from these population-based studies, and they should be interpreted carefully. Recognition of these factors and the mechanisms by which they contribute to Alzheimer's disease will be beneficial in the current treatment regimens for Alzheimer's disease and in the development of future therapies. Here we discuss vascular factors with respect to Alzheimer's disease and dementia and review the factors that give rise to vascular dysfunction and contribute to Alzheimer's disease.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2010 · Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine A Journal of Translational and Personalized Medicine