Bidlack, Jean M., Reilley, Kate J., McLaughlin, Jay P., Sypek, Elizabeth I., Hoot, Michelle R., Carey, Amanda N.
Inhibition of Gβγ-subunit signaling to phospholipase C β3 has been shown to potentiate morphine-mediated antinociception while attenuating the development of tolerance and dependence in mice. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of Gβγ-subunit inhibition on antinociception and other pharmacological effects, such as respiratory depression, constipation, and hyperlocomotion, mediated by the μ-opioid receptor. The Gβγ-subunit inhibitor, gallein, was administered to C57BL/6J mice by intraperitoneal injection before morphine, and data were compared with mice treated with vehicle, morphine, or gallein alone. Morphine-induced antinociception was measured using the 55°C warm-water tail-withdrawal test. Pretreatment with gallein produced a dose-dependent potentiation of morphine-mediated antinociception, producing up to a 10-fold leftward shift in the morphine dose–response curve and extending the duration of antinociception induced by a single dose of morphine. Gallein pretreatment also prevented acute antinociceptive tolerance induced by morphine. In contrast, the dose-dependent respiratory depression and hyperlocomotion induced by morphine were not potentiated by gallein pretreatment. Similarly, gallein pretreatment did not potentiate morphine-conditioned place preference responses or morphine-induced constipation, as measured as a reduction in excreta. These results suggest that selectively inhibiting Gβγ-mediated signaling may selectively increase μ-opioid receptor-mediated antinociception without matching increases in adverse physiological effects.