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

December 6, 2017

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

Gene mutation causes low sensitivity to pain

December 13, 2017
A UCL-led research team has identified a rare mutation that causes one family to have unusually low sensitivity to pain.

Activating MSc glutamatergic neurons found to cause mice to eat less

December 13, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A trio of researchers working at the State University of New York has found that artificially stimulating neurons that exist in the medial septal complex in mouse brains caused test mice to eat less. In ...

Scientists discover blood sample detection method for multiple sclerosis

December 13, 2017
A method for quickly detecting signs of multiple sclerosis has been developed by a University of Huddersfield research team.

LLNL-developed microelectrodes enable automated sorting of neural signals

December 13, 2017
Thin-film microelectrode arrays produced at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have enabled development of an automated system to sort brain activity by individual neurons, a technology that could open the door ...

Intermittent fasting found to increase cognitive functions in mice

December 12, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—The Daily Mail spoke with the leader of a team of researchers with the National Institute on Aging in the U.S. and reports that they have found that putting mice on a diet consisting of eating nothing every ...

Discovery deepens understanding of brain's sensory circuitry

December 12, 2017
Because they provide an exemplary physiological model of how the mammalian brain receives sensory information, neural structures called "mouse whisker barrels" have been the subject of study by neuroscientists around the ...

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.