En español
NIDA

Targeting delta opioid receptor may reduce pain without causing addiction

Science Spotlight

March 27, 2014

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at NIH funded a new study researching the delta opioid receptor (DOR), a pain receptor located under the skin that regulates minor skin sensations like touch and warming.  For people with allodynia, a condition where minor sensations can cause severe pain, targeting DORs with medication can reduce pain.

Medications acting on these DORs interfere with the communication between sensory neurons and spinal cord and brain neurons, likely resulting in reduced pain. This might be a promising alternate therapeutic strategy by which opioids can reduce pain without causing side effects such as addiction.

For a copy of the study summary (published online February 27), go to: http://www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273%2814%2900075-0.  For information on drug abuse and pain, go to http://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2012/11/qa-dr-david-thomas.

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245.

Opiates binding to opiate receptorsThis is a close-up view of a synapse in the nucleus accumbens. Three types of neurons participate in opiate action: one that releases dopamine (on the left), a neighboring terminal (on the right) that contains a different neurotransmitter (probably GABA for those who would like to know), and the post-synaptic cell that contains dopamine receptors (in pink). Show that opiates bind to opiate receptors (yellow) on the neighboring terminal and this sends a signal to the dopamine terminal to release more dopamine. [In case someone asks how, one theory is that opiate receptor activation decreases GABA release, which normally inhibits dopamine release, so dopamine release is increased.]

Contact:
NIDA Press Office
301-443-6245
media@nida.nih.gov

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): NIDA is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy and improve practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at www.drugabuse.gov. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA's new DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or fax or email requests to 240-645-0227 or drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA's media guide can be found at www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide, and its new easy-to-read website can be found at www.easyread.drugabuse.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

NIH. . .Turning Discovery Into Health®

This page was last updated March 2014

News Releases

Oct 2014

Sep 2014

Aug 2014

Jul 2014

Jun 2014

May 2014

Apr 2014

Mar 2014

Feb 2014

Jan 2014

Dec 2013

Nov 2013

Oct 2013

Sep 2013

Aug 2013

Jul 2013

Jun 2013

May 2013

Apr 2013

Mar 2013

Feb 2013

Jan 2013

Dec 2012

Nov 2012

Oct 2012

Sep 2012

Aug 2012

Jul 2012

Jun 2012

May 2012

Apr 2012

Mar 2012

Feb 2012

Jan 2012

Dec 2011

Nov 2011

Oct 2011

Sep 2011

Aug 2011

Jul 2011

Jun 2011

May 2011

Apr 2011

Mar 2011

Jan 2011

Dec 2010

Nov 2010

Sep 2010

Aug 2010

Jul 2010

May 2010

Apr 2010

Mar 2010

Jan 2010

Get this Publication

    Cite this article

    APA style citation

    National Institute on Drug Abuse. Targeting delta opioid receptor may reduce pain without causing addiction Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2014/03/targeting-delta-opioid-receptor-may-reduce-pain-without-causing-addiction

    press ctrl+c to copy