Developing Opioid Pain Killers Without the Risk of Addiction.
Scientists are striving to create medicines that have the same pain-relieving properties as opioids but without the substantial danger of abuse and addiction. Even though misuse is linked to the medication's euphoric effects, researchers led by experts at NIDA's intramural labs are looking into methadone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction that doesn't have as strong euphoric effects as other opioids.
PET scan images in rats demonstrate that methadone has a substantially lesser effect on metabolic activity in the nucleus accumbens than morphine.
Mu opioid receptors in the brain play a major part in the reinforcing effects of opioid medications, according to animal research, while the neuropeptide galanin counteracts their effects. In a recent study, researchers discovered a significant difference in the mechanisms of action between methadone and morphine, which is determined by the activation of opioid receptor complexes (heteromers) composed of both mu-opioid receptors and one of the galanin receptor subtypes; differences that are crucial to their effects on the brain's dopamine system.
The researchers discovered that the opioid-galanin receptor heteromers dictate the effects of methadone vs morphine and fentanyl, indicating that methadone has a lower potential to activate the dopaminergic pathway connected to opioids euphoria. These findings should help researchers find opioids that are less likely to bind to opioid-galanin receptor heteromers, such as methadone. This discovery also opens the door to the search for molecules that activate galanin receptors, which might minimize opioid dependence risk.
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Scientists from NIDA's Baltimore intramural labs, the University of Maryland, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Barcelona collaborated in the study.
Go to Opioid-galanin receptor heteromers mediate the dopaminergic effects of opioids in the Journal of Clinical Investigation for a copy of the study.
Go to Opioids for further details.
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The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a federal agency that studies the effects of drugs on people. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health. NIDA funds the majority of research on the health effects of drug use and addiction around the world. The Institute runs a wide range of activities aimed at informing policy, improving practice, and furthering addiction science. Visit www.drugabuse.gov for additional information about NIDA and its programs.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a government-funded research organization. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, has 27 Institutes and Centers. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the principal federal body responsible for performing and funding basic, clinical, and translational medical research, as well as exploring the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. Visit www.nih.gov for more information on the NIH and its initiatives.
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National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, March 26). Opioids without the risk of addiction? National Institute on Drug Abuse. Opioids without the risk of addiction?