Migraine is one of the most common pain disorders and causes disability in millions of people every year. Delta opioid receptors (DOR) have been identified as a novel therapeutic target for migraine and other headache disorders. DORs are present in both peripheral and central regions and it is unclear which receptor populations regulate migraine-associated effects. The aim of this study was to determine if DOR expressed in peripheral nociceptors regulates headache associated endpoints and the effect of delta agonists within these mouse models. We used a conditional knockout, in which DOR was selectively deleted from Nav1.8 expressing cells. Nav1.8-DOR mice and loxP control littermates were tested in models of chronic migraine-associated allodynia, opioid-induced hyperalgesia, migraine-associated negative affect, and aura. Nav1.8-DOR and loxP mice had comparable effect sizes in all of these models. The anti-allodynic effect of the DOR agonist, SNC80, was slightly diminished in the nitroglycerin model of migraine. Intriguingly, in the OIH model the peripheral effects of SNC80 were completely lost in Nav1.8-DOR mice while the cephalic effects remained intact. Regardless of genotype, SNC80 continued to inhibit conditioned place aversion associated with nitroglycerin and decreased cortical spreading depression events associated with migraine aura. These results suggest that DOR in Nav1.8-expressing nociceptors do not critically regulate the anti-migraine effects of delta agonist; and that brain-penetrant delta agonists would be a more effective drug development strategy.
- Cortical spreading depression
- Headache disorders