Uncovering the analgesic effects of a pH-dependent mu-opioid receptor agonist using a model of nonevoked ongoing pain

Nicolas Massaly, Julia Temp, Halina Machelska, Christoph Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Currently, opioids targeting mu-opioid receptors are the most potent drugs for acute and cancer pain. However, opioids produce adverse side effects such as constipation, respiratory depression, or addiction potential. We recently developed (±)-N-(3-fluoro-1-phenethylpiperidine-4-yl)-N-phenyl propionamide (NFEPP), a compound that does not evoke central or intestinal side effects due to its selective activation of mu-opioid receptors at low pH in peripheral injured tissues. Although we demonstrated that NFEPP effectively abolishes injury-induced pain, hyperalgesia, and allodynia in rodents, the efficacy of NFEPP in nonevoked ongoing pain remains to be established. Here, we examined reward, locomotor activity, and defecation in rats with complete Freund's adjuvant-induced paw inflammation to compare fentanyl's and NFEPP's potentials to induce side effects and to inhibit spontaneous pain. We demonstrate that low, but not higher, doses of NFEPP produce conditioned place preference but not constipation or motor disturbance, in contrast to fentanyl. Using a peripherally restricted antagonist, we provide evidence that NFEPP-induced place preference is mediated by peripheral opioid receptors. Our results indicate that a low dose of NFEPP produces reward by abolishing spontaneous inflammatory pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2798-2804
Number of pages7
JournalPain
Volume161
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

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