Continuous intrathecal opioid analgesia: Tolerance and cross-tolerance of mu and delta spinal opioid receptors

R. D. Russell, J. B. Leslie, Y. F. Su, W. D. Watkins, K. J. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

The tolerance effects of continuous intrathecal infusions of opioids at mu and delta receptors were studied in rats. These effects were compared to those of chronic systemic morphine. A chronic intrathecal infusion of the relatively selective delta agonist, [D-Ala2, D-Leu5]enkephalin (DADLE), produced a larger degree of tolerance to DADLE than to the highly specific mu-activating morphiceptin analog [N-methyl-Phe3, D-Pro4] morphiceptin (PL017). The slope of the analgesic dose-response curve for the highly specific delta agonist, cyclic [D-Penicillamine2, D-Penicillamine5]enkephalin (DPDPE), was significantly different (flatter) from those of mu agonists or DADLE. High-dose infusion of PL017 induced a 61-fold parallel shift of the dose-response curve for PL017. This same treatment also induced a corresponding flattened, nonparallel change of the dose-response curve for DADLE. This altered curve for DADLE was very similar in slope to that of DPDPE. Pretreatment with the irreversible mu antagonist, β-funaltrexamine, caused a parallel rightward shift of the dose-response curve for PL017 but did not affect DPDPE activity. β-Funaltrexamine treatment induced a nonparallel rightward shift of the dose-response curve for DADLE with a change of slope similar to that of DPDPE. These findings demonstrate a mixed mu-delta analgesic activity for the compound DADLE, which is often referred to as a prototypic delta agonist. These interactions differ from prior reports of none or minimal mu-ligand interactions with DADLE. Despite the cross-reactivity of DADLE to mu receptors, DADLE remains a more effective analgesic than do mu agonists in states of mu receptor tolerance. Furthermore, we showed a 6-fold parallel rightward shift of the dose-response curve for DPDPE after our highest dose PL017 infusion. In view of the high degrees of distinct receptor-selectivities of PL017 and DPDPE, this finding seems to support the hypothesis of some direct mu-delta receptor interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-158
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Volume240
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 25 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

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