Adeno-associated viral transfer of opioid receptor gene to primary sensory neurons: A strategy to increase opioid antinociception

Y. Xu, Y. Gu, G. Y. Xu, P. Wu, G. W. Li, L. Y.M. Huang

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To develop a genetic approach for the treatment of pain, we introduced a recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vector containing the cDNA for the μ-opioid receptor (μOR) into primary afferent neurons in dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) of rats, which resulted in a long-lasting (>6 months) increase in μOR expression in DRG neurons. The increase greatly potentiated the antinociceptive effects of morphine in rAAV-μOR-infected rats with and without inflammation. Perforated patch recordings indicated that the efficacy and potency of opioid inhibition of voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels were enhanced in infected neurons, which may underlie the increase in opiate efficacy. These data suggest that transfer of opioid receptor genes into DRG cells with rAAV vectors may offer a new therapeutic strategy for pain management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6204-6209
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 13 2003


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