5 years ago

Molecular Pharmacology of δ-Opioid Receptors.

von Zastrow M, Pineyro G, Gendron L, Schiller PW, Cahill CM
Opioids are among the most effective analgesics available and are the first choice in the treatment of acute severe pain. However, partial efficacy, a tendency to produce tolerance, and a host of ill-tolerated side effects make clinically available opioids less effective in the management of chronic pain syndromes. Given that most therapeutic opioids produce their actions via µ-opioid receptors (MOPrs), other targets are constantly being explored, among which δ-opioid receptors (DOPrs) are being increasingly considered as promising alternatives. This review addresses DOPrs from the perspective of cellular and molecular determinants of their pharmacological diversity. Thus, DOPr ligands are examined in terms of structural and functional variety, DOPrs' capacity to engage a multiplicity of canonical and noncanonical G protein-dependent responses is surveyed, and evidence supporting ligand-specific signaling and regulation is analyzed. Pharmacological DOPr subtypes are examined in light of the ability of DOPr to organize into multimeric arrays and to adopt multiple active conformations as well as differences in ligand kinetics. Current knowledge on DOPr targeting to the membrane is examined as a means of understanding how these receptors are especially active in chronic pain management. Insight into cellular and molecular mechanisms of pharmacological diversity should guide the rational design of more effective, longer-lasting, and better-tolerated opioid analgesics for chronic pain management.

Publisher URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27343248

DOI: PubMed:27343248

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