Src Kinase Inhibition Attenuates Morphine Tolerance without Affecting Reinforcement or Psychomotor Stimulation
Prolonged opioid administration leads to tolerance characterized by reduced analgesic potency. Pain management is additionally compromised by the hedonic effects of opioids, the cause of their misuse. The multifunctional protein β-arrestin2 regulates the hedonic effects of morphine and participates in tolerance. These actions might reflect µ opioid receptor up-regulation through reduced endocytosis. β-Arrestin2 also recruits kinases to µ receptors. We explored the role of Src kinase in morphine analgesic tolerance, locomotor stimulation, and reinforcement in C57BL/6 mice.Methods:
Analgesic (tail withdrawal latency; percentage of maximum possible effect, n = 8 to 16), locomotor (distance traveled, n = 7 to 8), and reinforcing (conditioned place preference, n = 7 to 8) effects of morphine were compared in wild-type, µ+/–, µ–/–, and β-arrestin2–/– mice. The influence of c-Src inhibitors dasatinib (n = 8) and PP2 (n = 12) was examined.Results:
Analgesia in morphine-treated wild-type mice exhibited tolerance, declining by day 10 to a median of 62% maximum possible effect (interquartile range, 29 to 92%). Tolerance was absent from mice receiving dasatinib. Tolerance was enhanced in µ+/– mice (34% maximum possible effect; interquartile range, 5 to 52% on day 5); dasatinib attenuated tolerance (100% maximum possible effect; interquartile range, 68 to 100%), as did PP2 (91% maximum possible effect; interquartile range, 78 to 100%). By contrast, c-Src inhibition affected neither morphine-evoked locomotor stimulation nor reinforcement. Remarkably, dasatinib not only attenuated tolerance but also reversed established tolerance in µ+/– mice.Conclusions:
The ability of c-Src inhibitors to inhibit tolerance, thereby restoring analgesia, without altering the hedonic effect of morphine, makes c-Src inhibitors promising candidates as adjuncts to opioid analgesics.