Researchers examine how opioids affect proteins in the brain other than opioid receptors

December 6, 2017, Wiley

In a new study, researchers have characterized the effects of a series of opioids on proteins in the brain other than opioid receptors. In the British Journal of Pharmacology study, several synthetic opioids inhibited serotonin and norepinephrine transporters, which may contribute to their analgesic properties but may also increase the risk of serotonin toxicity, a group of symptoms that can include high body temperature, agitation, increased reflexes, tremor, sweating, dilated pupils, and diarrhoea.

The investigators note that serotonin syndrome may result from serotonin transporter inhibition by tramadol, tapentadol, methadone, dextromethorphan, and pethidine, especially when combined with other serotonergic medications.

"Physicians need to be aware of the risk of serotonin toxicity when using certain opioids," said senior author Prof. Matthias Liechti, of the University Hospital Basel, in Switzerland.

Explore further: Serotonin promote liver regeneration following liver cancer treatment—but also supports early tumour regrowth

More information: British Journal of Pharmacology (2017). DOI: 10.1111/bph.14105

Related Stories

Serotonin promote liver regeneration following liver cancer treatment—but also supports early tumour regrowth

October 19, 2017
Blood platelets and serotonin – a molecule with growth promoting properties – stored in them play a significant role in the recurrence of cancer following partial hepatectomy. For the first time, a research group from ...

Blood of SIDS infants contains high levels of serotonin

July 3, 2017
Blood samples from infants who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) had high levels of serotonin, a chemical that carries signals along and between nerves, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes ...

Compound enhances SSRI antidepressant's effects in mice

June 21, 2013
A synthetic compound is able to turn off "secondary" vacuum cleaners in the brain that take up serotonin, resulting in the "happy" chemical being more plentiful, scientists from the School of Medicine at The University of ...

Researchers visualize brain's serotonin pump, provide blueprint for new, more effective SSRIs

April 6, 2016
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University's Vollum Institute have uncovered remarkably detailed 3-D views of one of the most important transporters in the brain - the serotonin transporter. Their study, published ...

Serotonin levels low in ankylosing spondylitis

October 3, 2015
(HealthDay)—Patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) have lower serotonin levels than healthy controls and patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a study published online Sept. 30 in the Journal of Bone ...

Investigators examine the relationship between pain and opioid abuse

June 12, 2017
The drug overdose epidemic is largely driven by opioids, which continue to be prescribed for chronic pain despite recommendations to use non-opioids for most cases. A new review published in the British Journal of Pharmacology ...

Recommended for you

Observing brain plasticity during cello training

June 15, 2018
Music acquisition provides an excellent model of neural plasticity, and has become a hot research subject in neurology. Music performance provides an unmatched array of neural complexities revealing how neural networks are ...

New discovery about the brain's water system may prove beneficial in stroke

June 15, 2018
Water is transported from the blood into the brain via an ion transporter, according to a new study on mice conducted at the University of Copenhagen. If the mechanism can be targeted with medicine, it may prove relevant ...

When emotional memories intrude, focusing on context could help, study finds

June 14, 2018
When negative memories intrude, focusing on the contextual details of the incident rather than the emotional fallout could help minimize cognitive disruption and redirect the brain's resources to the task at hand, suggests ...

The neurons that rewrite traumatic memories

June 14, 2018
Memories of traumatic experiences can lead to mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can destroy a person's life. It is currently estimated that almost a third of all people will suffer ...

Researchers find transport molecule has unexpected role

June 14, 2018
UT Southwestern researchers recently reported a basic science finding that might someday lead to better treatments for neurodegenerative diseases like a hereditary form of Lou Gehrig's disease.

Neuroscientists locate neurons in the brain that respond when a visual target is found

June 14, 2018
From looking for Waldo to finding your cellphone on a cluttered kitchen table, we are continuously engaged in visual searches. How does the brain do this? How do we know where to look? How do we know when we've found what ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.