Disruption of the CRF(2) receptor pathway decreases the somatic expression of opiate withdrawal.
ABSTRACT: Escape from the extremely aversive opiate withdrawal symptoms powerfully motivates compulsive drug-seeking and drug-taking behaviors. The corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) system is hypothesized to mediate the motivational properties of drug dependence. CRF signaling is transmitted by two receptor pathways, termed CRF(1) and CRF(2). To investigate the role for the CRF(2) receptor pathway in somatic opiate withdrawal, in the present study we used genetically engineered mice deficient in the CRF(2) receptor (CRF(2)-/-). We employed a novel, clinically relevant mouse model of 'spontaneous' opiate withdrawal as well as a classical opioid receptor antagonist (naloxone)-precipitated opiate withdrawal paradigm. To induce opiate dependence, mice were treated with intermittent escalating morphine doses (20-100 mg/kg, i.p.). We found that 8-128 h after the last opiate injection, CRF(2)-/- mice showed decreased levels of major somatic signs of spontaneous opiate withdrawal, such as paw tremor and wet dog shake, as compared to wild-type mice. Similarly, challenge with naloxone 2 h after the last morphine injection induced lower levels of paw tremor and wet dog shake in CRF(2)-/- mice as compared to wild-type mice. Despite the differences in somatic signs, wild-type and CRF(2)-/- mice displayed similar plasma corticosterone responses to opiate dosing and withdrawal, indicating a marginal role for the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis in the CRF(2) receptor mediation of opiate withdrawal. Our results unravel a novel role for the CRF(2) receptor pathway in opiate withdrawal. The CRF(2) receptor pathway might be a critical target of therapies aimed at alleviating opiate withdrawal symptoms and reducing relapse to drug intake.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Recent evidence suggests that corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) receptor signalling is involved in modulating the negative symptoms of opiate withdrawal. In this study, a series of experiments were performed to further characterize the role of CRF-type 2 receptor (CRF?) signalling in opiate withdrawal-induced physical signs of dependence, hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation, enhanced noradrenaline (NA) turnover in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) phosphorylation (activation), as well as CRF? expression in the nucleus of the solitary tract-A? noradrenergic cell group (NTS-A?). EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: The contribution of CRF? signalling in opiate withdrawal was assessed by i.c.v. infusion of the selective CRF? antagonist, antisauvagine-30 (AS-30). Rats were implanted with two morphine (or placebo) pellets. Six days later, rats were pretreated with AS-30 or saline 10 min before naloxone and the physical signs of abstinence, the HPA axis activity, NA turnover, TH activation and CRF? expression were measured using immunoblotting, RIA, HPLC and immunohistochemistry. KEY RESULTS: Rats pretreated with AS-30 showed decreased levels of somatic signs of naloxone-induced opiate withdrawal, but the corticosterone response was not modified. AS-30 attenuated the increased production of the NA metabolite, 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol, as well as the enhanced NA turnover observed in morphine-withdrawn rats. Finally, AS-30 antagonized the TH phosphorylation at Serine40 induced by morphine withdrawal. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: These results suggest that physical signs of opiate withdrawal, TH activation and stimulation of noradrenergic pathways innervating the PVN are modulated by CRF? signalling. Furthermore, they indicate a marginal role for the HPA axis in CRF?-mediation of opiate withdrawal.
Project description:Opiate withdrawal/negative reinforcement has been implicated as one of the mechanisms for the progression from impulsive to compulsive drug use. Increase in the intracellular cAMP level and protein kinase A (PKA) activities within the neurocircuitry of addiction has been a leading hypothesis for opiate addiction. This increase requires the phosphorylation of ?-opioid receptor (MOR) at Tyr<sup>336</sup> by Src after prolonged opiate treatment <i>in vitro</i> Here, we report that the Src-mediated MOR phosphorylation at Tyr<sup>336</sup> is a prerequisite for opiate withdrawal in mice. We observed the recruitment of Src in the vicinity of MOR and an increase in phosphorylated Tyr<sup>336</sup> (pY336) levels during naloxone-precipitated withdrawal. The intracerebroventricular or stereotaxic injection of a Src inhibitor (AZD0530), or Src shRNA viruses attenuated pY336 levels, and several somatic withdrawal signs. This was also observed in Fyn<sup>-/-</sup> mice. The stereotaxic injection of wild-type MOR, but not mutant (Y336F) MOR, lentiviruses into the locus coeruleus of MOR<sup>-/-</sup> mice restored somatic withdrawal jumping. Regulating pY336 levels during withdrawal might be a future target for drug development to prevent opiate addictive behaviors.
Project description:The negative affective symptoms of opiate withdrawal powerfully motivate drug-seeking behavior and may trigger relapse to heroin abuse. To date, no medications exist that effectively relieve the negative affective symptoms of opiate withdrawal. The corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) system has been hypothesized to mediate the motivational effects of drug dependence. The CRF signal is transmitted by two distinct receptors named CRF receptor-1 (CRF1) and CRF2. Here we report that genetic disruption of CRF1 receptor pathways in mice eliminates the negative affective states of opiate withdrawal. In particular, neither CRF1 receptor heterozygous (CRF1+/-) nor homozygous (CRF1-/-) null mutant mice avoided environmental cues repeatedly paired with the early phase of opiate withdrawal. These results were not due to altered associative learning processes because CRF1+/- and CRF1-/- mice displayed reliable, conditioned place aversions to environmental cues paired with the kappa-opioid receptor agonist U-50,488H. We also examined the impact of CRF1 receptor-deficiency upon opiate withdrawal-induced dynorphin activity in the nucleus accumbens, a brain molecular mechanism thought to underlie the negative affective states of drug withdrawal. Consistent with the behavioral indices, we found that, during the early phase of opiate withdrawal, neither CRF1+/- nor CRF1-/- showed increased dynorphin mRNA levels in the nucleus accumbens. This study reveals a cardinal role for CRF/CRF1 receptor pathways in the negative affective states of opiate withdrawal and suggests therapeutic strategies for the treatment of opiate addiction.
Project description:Little is known about the physiological roles of the M5 muscarinic receptor, the last member of the muscarinic receptor family (M1-M5) to be cloned. In the brain, the M5 receptor subtype is preferentially expressed by dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area. Dopaminergic neurons located in the ventral tegmental area are known to play important roles in mediating both the rewarding effects of opiates and other drugs of abuse and the manifestations of opiate/drug withdrawal symptoms. We therefore speculated that acetylcholine-dependent activation of M5 receptors might modulate the manifestations of opiate reward and withdrawal. This hypothesis was tested in a series of behavioral, biochemical, and neurochemical studies using M5 receptor-deficient mice (M5-/- mice) as novel experimental tools. We found that the rewarding effects of morphine, as measured in the conditioned place preference paradigm, were substantially reduced in M5-/- mice. Furthermore, both the somatic and affective components of naloxone-induced morphine withdrawal symptoms were significantly attenuated in M5-/- mice. In contrast, the analgesic efficacy of morphine and the development of tolerance to the analgesic effects of morphine remained unaltered by the lack of M5 receptors. The finding that M5 receptor activity modulates both morphine reward and withdrawal processes suggests that M5 receptors may represent a novel target for the treatment of opiate addiction.
Project description:Vulnerability to stressful life events is a hallmark of drug dependence that may persist long after cessation of drug intake and dramatically fuel key clinical features, such as deregulated up-shifted motivational states and craving. However, to date, no effective therapy is available for reducing vulnerability to stressful events in former drug users and drug-dependent patients, mostly because of poor knowledge of the mechanisms underlying it. In this study, we report that genetic inactivation of the stress-responsive corticotropin-releasing factor receptor-2 (CRF2-/-) completely eliminates the reemergence of increased nonrewarded nose-pokes, reflecting up-shifted motivational states, triggered by ethological environmental stressors long after cessation of morphine administration in mice. Accordingly, CRF2 receptor deficiency completely abolishes the increase in biomarkers of synthesis of major brain motivational substrates, such as ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) and amygdala ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA) systems, associated with the stress-induced reemergence of up-shifted motivational states long after opiate withdrawal. Nevertheless, neither CRF2 receptor deficiency nor long-term opiate withdrawal affects amygdala CRF or hypothalamus CRF expression, indicating preserved brain stress-coping systems. Moreover, CRF2 receptor deficiency does not influence the locomotor or the anxiety-like effect of long-term opiate withdrawal. Thus, the present results reveal an essential and specific role for the CRF2 receptor in the stress-induced reemergence of up-shifted motivational states and related alterations in brain motivational systems long after opiate withdrawal. These findings suggest new strategies for the treatment of the severe and long-lasting vulnerability that inexorably follows drug withdrawal and hinder drug abstinence.
Project description:Regular physical activity prevents the development of chronic muscle pain through the modulation of central mechanisms that involve rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM). We tested if pharmacological blockade or genetic deletion of mu-opioid receptors in physically active mice modulates excitatory and inhibitory systems in the RVM in an activity-induced hyperalgesia model. We examined response frequency to mechanical stimulation of the paw, muscle withdrawal thresholds, and expression of phosphorylation of the NR1 subunit of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (p-NR1) and serotonin transporter (SERT) in the RVM. Mice that had performed 5 days of voluntary wheel running prior to the induction of the model were compared with sedentary mice. Sedentary mice showed significant increases in mechanical paw withdrawal frequency and a reduction in muscle withdrawal threshold; wheel running prevented the increase in paw withdrawal frequency. Naloxone-treated and MOR mice had increases in withdrawal frequency that were significantly greater than that in physically active control mice and similar to sedentary mice. Immunohistochemistry in the RVM showed increases in p-NR1 and SERT expression in sedentary mice 24 hours after the induction of the model. Wheel running prevented the increase in SERT, but not p-NR1. Physically active, naloxone-treated, and MOR mice showed significant increases in SERT immunoreactivity when compared with wild-type physically active control mice. Blockade of SERT in the RVM in sedentary mice reversed the activity-induced hyperalgesia of the paw and muscle. These results suggest that analgesia induced by 5 days of wheel running is mediated by mu-opioid receptors through the modulation of SERT, but not p-NR1, in RVM.
Project description:The CRF (corticotropin-releasing factor) system is a key mediator of the stress response. Alterations in CRF signaling have been implicated in drug craving and ethanol consumption. The development of negative reinforcement via activation of brain stress systems has been proposed as a mechanism that contributes to alcohol dependence. Here, we isolated a gain-of-function allele of seb-3, a CRF receptor-like GPCR in Caenorhabditis elegans, providing an in vivo model of a constitutively activated stress system. We also characterized a loss-of-function allele of seb-3 and showed that SEB-3 positively regulates a stress response that leads to an enhanced active state of locomotion, behavioral arousal and tremor. SEB-3 also contributed to acute tolerance to ethanol and to the development of tremor during ethanol withdrawal. Furthermore, we found that a specific CRF(1) receptor antagonist reduced acute functional tolerance to ethanol in mice. These findings demonstrate functional conservation of the CRF system in responses to stress and ethanol in vertebrates and invertebrates.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Understanding mechanisms of physiological opioid withdrawal symptoms can inform treatment strategies. This secondary analysis evaluated the association between mydriasis (dilated pupils), a commonly-assessed opioid withdrawal metric, with self- and observer-rated opioid withdrawal severity. METHOD:Ninety-five participants with opioid physical dependence were stabilized with morphine before receiving an injection of the opioid antagonist naloxone to precipitate withdrawal. Pupil diameter, the Subjective Opiate Withdrawal Scale (SOWS), and the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS) were collected at baseline and in 15-minute intervals for 120?min following naloxone administration. Pearson product-moment correlations and linear regressions characterized the relationships between pupil measurements (baseline and peak naloxone-induced) and self- and observer-rated measures of withdrawal. Repeated-measures ANOVAs tested whether self and observer-rated withdrawal severity corresponded to unique patterns in pupil changes. RESULTS:Baseline pupil diameter significantly correlated with SOWS and COWS peak scores. Peak naloxone-induced pupil diameter significantly correlated with SOWS scores only. Peak changes in pupil from baseline did not correspond to peak changes in self- and observer-rated withdrawal scales. CONCLUSIONS:This study suggests that pupil diameter measurements were more closely associated with acute opioid withdrawal severity than changes in pupil diameter. Prospective research examining the mechanisms underlying the relationship between pupil diameter and opioid withdrawal severity are warranted.
Project description:?(9)-Tetrahydrocannbinol (THC), the primary active constituent of Cannabis sativa, has long been known to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms. Although THC produces most of its pharmacological actions through the activation of CB(1) and CB(2) cannabinoid receptors, the role these receptors play in reducing the variety of opioid withdrawal symptoms remains unknown. The endogenous cannabinoids, N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide; AEA) and 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG), activate both cannabinoid receptors but are rapidly metabolized by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), respectively. The objective of this study was to test whether increasing AEA or 2-AG, via inhibition of their respective hydrolytic enzymes, reduces naloxone-precipitated morphine withdrawal symptoms in in vivo and in vitro models of opioid dependence. Morphine-dependent mice challenged with naloxone reliably displayed a profound withdrawal syndrome, consisting of jumping, paw tremors, diarrhea, and weight loss. THC and the MAGL inhibitor 4-nitrophenyl 4-(dibenzo[d][1,3]dioxol-5-yl(hydroxy)methyl)piperidine-1-carboxylate (JZL184) dose dependently reduced the intensity of most measures through the activation of CB(1) receptors. JZL184 also attenuated spontaneous withdrawal signs in morphine-dependent mice. The FAAH inhibitor N-(pyridin-3-yl)-4-(3-(5-(trifluoromethyl)pyridin-2-yloxy)benzyl)-piperdine-1-carboxamide (PF-3845) reduced the intensity of naloxone-precipitated jumps and paw flutters through the activation of CB(1) receptors but did not ameliorate incidence of diarrhea or weight loss. In the final series of experiments, we investigated whether JZL184 or PF-3845 would attenuate naloxone-precipitated contractions in morphine-dependent ilea. Both enzyme inhibitors attenuated the intensity of naloxone-induced contractions, although this model does not account mechanistically for the autonomic withdrawal responses (i.e., diarrhea) observed in vivo. These results indicate that endocannabinoid catabolic enzymes are promising targets to treat opioid dependence.
Project description:The GABAergic tail of the ventral tegmental area (tVTA), also named rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg), exerts an inhibitory control on dopamine neurons of the VTA and substantia nigra. The tVTA has been implicated in avoidance behaviors, response to drugs of abuse, reward prediction error, and motor functions. Stimulation of the lateral habenula (LHb) inputs to the tVTA, or of the tVTA itself, induces avoidance behaviors, which suggests a role of the tVTA in processing aversive information. Our aim was to test the impact of aversive stimuli on the molecular recruitment of the tVTA, and the behavioral consequences of tVTA lesions. In rats, we assessed Fos response to lithium chloride (LiCl), ?-carboline, naloxone, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), inflammatory pain, neuropathic pain, foot-shock, restraint stress, forced swimming, predator odor, and opiate withdrawal. We also determined the effect of tVTA bilateral ablation on physical signs of opiate withdrawal, and on LPS- and LiCl-induced conditioned taste aversion (CTA). Naloxone-precipitated opiate withdrawal induced Fos in ?-opioid receptor-positive (15%) and -negative (85%) tVTA cells, suggesting the presence of both direct and indirect mechanisms in tVTA recruitment during withdrawal. However, tVTA lesion did not impact physical signs of opiate withdrawal. Fos induction was also present with repeated, but not single, foot-shock delivery. However, such induction was mostly absent with other aversive stimuli. Moreover, tVTA ablation had no impact on CTA. Although stimulation of the tVTA favors avoidance behaviors, present findings suggest that this structure may be important to the response to some, but not all, aversive stimuli.