Sigma-1 receptors control immune-driven peripheral opioid analgesia during inflammation in mice [Pharmacology]
Sigma-1 antagonism potentiates the antinociceptive effects of opioid drugs, so sigma-1 receptors constitute a biological brake to opioid drug-induced analgesia. The pathophysiological role of this process is unknown. We aimed to investigate whether sigma-1 antagonism reduces inflammatory pain through the disinhibition of the endogenous opioidergic system in mice. The selective sigma-1 antagonists BD-1063 and S1RA abolished mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia in mice with carrageenan-induced acute (3 h) inflammation. Sigma-1–mediated antihyperalgesia was reversed by the opioid antagonists naloxone and naloxone methiodide (a peripherally restricted naloxone analog) and by local administration at the inflamed site of monoclonal antibody 3-E7, which recognizes the pan-opioid sequence Tyr–Gly–Gly–Phe at the N terminus of most endogenous opioid peptides (EOPs). Neutrophils expressed pro-opiomelanocortin, the precursor of β-endorphin (a known EOP), and constituted the majority of the acute immune infiltrate. β-endorphin levels increased in the inflamed paw, and this increase and the antihyperalgesic effects of sigma-1 antagonism were abolished by reducing the neutrophil load with in vivo administration of an anti-Ly6G antibody. The opioid-dependent sigma-1 antihyperalgesic effects were preserved 5 d after carrageenan administration, where macrophages/monocytes were found to express pro-opiomelanocortin and to now constitute the majority of the immune infiltrate. These results suggest that immune cells harboring EOPs are needed for the antihyperalgesic effects of sigma-1 antagonism during inflammation. In conclusion, sigma-1 receptors curtail immune-driven peripheral opioid analgesia, and sigma-1 antagonism produces local opioid analgesia by enhancing the action of EOPs of immune origin, maximizing the analgesic potential of immune cells that naturally accumulate in painful inflamed areas.
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