Nociceptin/Orphanin FQ Receptor Activation Attenuates Antinociception Induced By Mixed Nociceptin/Orphanin FQ/Mu-Opioid Receptor Agonists


Khroyan, T. V., Polgar, W. E., Jiang, F., Zaveri, N. T., & Toll, L. (2009). Nociceptin/orphanin FQ receptor activation attenuates antinociception induced by mixed nociceptin/orphanin FQ/μ-opioid receptor agonists. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 331(3), 946-953.


Activation of brain nociceptin/orphanin FQ (NOP) receptors leads to attenuation of μ-opioid receptor (MOP receptor)-mediated antinociception. Buprenorphine, a high-affinity partial MOP receptor agonist also binds to NOP receptors with 80 nM affinity. The buprenorphine-induced inverted U-shaped dose-response curve for antinociception may be due to NOP receptor activation, given that, in the presence of the NOP receptor antagonist, 1-[(3R,4R)-1-cyclooctylmethyl-3-hydroxymethyl-4-piperidyl]-3-ethyl-1,3-dihydro-2H-benzimidazol-2-one (J113397), or in NOP receptor knockout mice, buprenorphine has a steeper dose-response curve and acts as a full agonist. To further explore the involvement of the direct activation of NOP receptors by buprenorphine and other compounds that activate both NOP and MOP receptors, the antinociceptive effects of 1-(1-(2,3,3α,4,5,6-hexahydro-1H-phenalen-1-yl)piperidin-4-yl)-indolin-2-one. (SR16435), 3-ethyl-1-(1-(4-isopropylcyclohexyl)piperidin-4-yl)-indolin-2-one (SR16507), buprenorphine, pentazocine, and morphine, compounds with varying levels of MOP and NOP receptor affinity and efficacy, were assessed in mice using the tail-flick assay. The ability of the selective NOP receptor antagonist (−)-cis-1-methyl-7-[[4-(2,6-dichlorophenyl)piperidin-1-yl]methyl]-6,7,8,9-tetrahydro-5H-benzocyclohepten-5-ol (SB-612111) to potentiate antinociception induced by the above compounds was examined to investigate whether activation of NOP receptors leads to attenuation of MOP receptor-mediated antinociception. SB-612111 potentiated antinociception induced by buprenorphine and the other mixed NOP/MOP receptor agonists SR16435 and SR16507. However, SB-612111 had no effect on pentazocine or morphine antinociception, two compounds with no NOP receptor-binding affinity. These results further support the hypothesis that activation of NOP receptors can lead to attenuation of MOP receptor-mediated antinociception elicited by mixed NOP/MOP receptor compounds such as buprenorphine, SR16435, and SR16507 and that, although buprenorphine has low efficacy in vitro, it has significant NOP receptor agonist activity in vivo.

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