Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery paves way for improved painkillers

Date:
April 2, 2012
Source:
University of Adelaide
Summary:
Scientists have made a major discovery that could lead to more effective treatment of severe pain using morphine.

An international team of researchers involving the University of Adelaide has made a major discovery that could lead to more effective treatment of severe pain using morphine.

Morphine is an extremely important drug for pain relief, but it can lead to a range of side-effects -- such as patients developing tolerance to morphine and increased sensitivity to pain. Until now, how this occurs has remained a mystery.

The team from the University of Colorado and University of Adelaide has shown for the first time how opioid drugs, such as morphine, create an inflammatory response in the brain -- by activating an immune receptor in the brain.

They have also demonstrated how this brain immune receptor can be blocked, laying the groundwork for the development of new therapeutic drugs that improve the effectiveness of morphine while reducing many of its problematic side effects.

The results of this research are published April 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"Because morphine is considered to be such an important drug in the management of moderate to severe pain in patients right around the world, we believe these results will have far-reaching benefits," says study co-author Dr Mark Hutchinson, ARC Research Fellow in the University of Adelaide's School of Medical Sciences.

Dr Hutchinson's team, including University of Adelaide colleague Professor Andrew Somogyi, conducted studies in mice to validate the work done at the University of Colorado by the teams of Assistant Professor Hubert Yin and Professor Linda Watkins.

"For some time it's been assumed that the inflammatory response from morphine was being caused via the classical opioid receptors," says Dr Hutchinson.

"However, we found instead that morphine binds to an immune receptor complex called toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), and importantly this occurs in a very similar way to how this receptor detects bacteria.

"Our experiments in mice have shown that if this relationship with the immune receptor is disrupted, it will prevent the inflammatory response.

"This is an exciting result because it opens up possibilities for future drugs that promote the beneficial actions of morphine while negating some of the harmful side effects. This could lead to major advances in patient and palliative care," he says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Adelaide. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Xiaohui Wang, Lisa C. Loram, Khara Ramos, Armando J. de Jesus, Jacob Thomas, Kui Cheng, Anireddy Reddy, Andrew A. Somogyi, Mark R. Hutchinson, Linda R. Watkins, and Hang Yin. Morphine activates neuroinflammation in a manner parallel to endotoxin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 2, 2012 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1200130109

Cite This Page:

University of Adelaide. "Discovery paves way for improved painkillers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120402162658.htm>.
University of Adelaide. (2012, April 2). Discovery paves way for improved painkillers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120402162658.htm
University of Adelaide. "Discovery paves way for improved painkillers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120402162658.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mental, Neurological Disabilities Up 21% Among Kids

Mental, Neurological Disabilities Up 21% Among Kids

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) New numbers show a decade's worth of changes in the number of kids with disabilities. They suggest mental disabilities are up; physical ones are down. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fake Weed Wreaks Havoc In New Hampshire

Fake Weed Wreaks Havoc In New Hampshire

Newsy (Aug. 17, 2014) New Hampshire's governor declared a state of emergency after more than 40 overdoses of synthetic marijuana in one week throughout the state. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins