Research ArticlePain

TRPV1 promotes opioid analgesia during inflammation

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Science Signaling  02 Apr 2019:
Vol. 12, Issue 575, eaav0711
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aav0711

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Analgesic TRPV1

Opiates provide pain relief, but they are addictive, and patients often become desensitized to them and then require greater doses. Inflammation, which is common with painful injuries, enhances the analgesic efficacy of opioids. Basso et al. found that inflammation-induced activation of the channel TRPV1 promoted opioid sensitivity and analgesia in mice by relocalizing the protein β-arrestin2 within the cell such that it could not interact with the μ-opioid receptor and facilitate its desensitization. This finding potentially explains the analgesic effect of inflammation in patients taking opioids and may identify ways to therapeutically prevent the need for opiate dose escalation.