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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-443-6245.