Involvement of exon 11-associated variants of the mu opioid receptor MOR-1 in heroin, but not morphine, actions

Ying Xian Pan, Jin Xu, Mingming Xu, Grace C. Rossi, Joshua E. Matulonis, Gavril W. Pasternak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations

Abstract

Heroin remains a major drug of abuse and is preferred by addicts over morphine. Like morphine, heroin has high affinity and selectivity for -receptors, but its residual analgesia in exon 1 MOR-1 knockout mice that do not respond to morphine suggests a different mechanism of action. MOR-1 splice variants lacking exon 1 have been observed in mice, humans, and rats, raising the possibility that they might be responsible for the residual heroin and morphine-6/3-glucuronide (M6G) analgesia in the exon 1 knockout mice. To test this possibility, we disrupted exon 11 of MOR-1, which eliminates all of the variants that do not contain exon 1. Morphine and methadone analgesia in the exon 11 knockout mouse was normal, but the analgesic actions of heroin, M6G, and fentanyl were markedly diminished in the radiant heat tail- flick and hot-plate assays. Similarly, the ability of M6G to inhibit gastrointestinal transit was greatly diminished in these exon 11 knockout mice, whereas the ability of morphine was unchanged. These findings identify receptors selectively involved with heroin and M6G actions and confirm the relevance of the exon 11- associated variants and raise important issues regarding the importance of atypical truncated G-protein-coupled receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4917-4922
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume106
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 24 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Keywords

  • Analgesia
  • Knockout
  • Opiate receptor

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