Mu opioid pharmacology: 40 years to the promised land Journal Article


Author: Pasternak, G. W.
Article Title: Mu opioid pharmacology: 40 years to the promised land
Abstract: Opioids continue to play a major role in medicine, but not without problems. Side effects limit their utility medically, while the potential of addiction has had a major societal impact. Pharmacologists have been trying to develop opioids lacking side effects since the first derivative, heroin, was synthesized in the 1870s. The identification of opioid receptors about 40 years ago opened up new insights into our understanding of opioid action, fueled by the molecular biology revolution of the 1980s and 1990s. A major result of these studies was the discovery that the mu opioid receptor gene, Oprm1, undergoes extensive alternative splicing in mice, rats, and humans. This single gene generates three sets of proteins, each containing many variants. The object of this review is to describe these variants and how they can be targeted to generate safer, effective analgesic drugs. Mu opioid receptor multiplicity was first suggested over 35 years ago based upon a series of selective antagonists and detailed binding assays. The identification of the different classes of mu opioid receptor splice variants enabled us to target one of the classes of splice variants to obtain potent analgesics lacking respiratory depression, physical dependence, and reward behavior. They also displayed no cross tolerance to morphine analgesia and had diminished effects on gastrointestinal transit. Forty years after the identification of opioid-binding sites in brain the promised land of safer, nonaddictive analgesics is in sight. © 2018 Elsevier Inc.
Keywords: alternative splicing; analgesia; mu opioid receptor; oprm1; ibntxa
Journal Title: Advances in Pharmacology
Volume: 82
ISSN: 1054-3589
Publisher: Elsevier Inc.  
Date Published: 2018-01-01
Start Page: 261
End Page: 291
Language: English
DOI: 10.1016/bs.apha.2017.09.006
PROVIDER: scopus
PUBMED: 29413524
DOI/URL:
Notes: Chapter 12 in "Apprentices to Genius: A tribute to Solomon H. Snyder" (ISBN: 978-0-12-814087-1) -- Export Date: 3 December 2018 -- Source: Scopus
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MSK Authors
  1. Gavril W Pasternak
    328 Pasternak
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