Sigma receptor ligand, (+)-pentazocine, suppresses inflammatory responses of retinal microglia

Jing Zhao, Yonju Ha, Gregory I. Liou, Graydon B. Gonsalvez, Sylvia B. Smith, Kathryn E. Bollinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Purpose. To evaluate the effects of the σ 1 receptor (σR1) agonist, (+)-pentazocine, on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory changes in retinal microglia cells. Methods. Retinal microglia cells were isolated from Sprague-Dawley rat pups. Cells were treated with LPS with or without (+)-pentazocine and with or without the σR1 antagonist BD1063. Morphologic changes were assayed. Cell viability was assessed by using MTT assay. Supernatant levels of tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), interleukin 10, (IL-10), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and nitric oxide (NO) were determined. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation was assayed, and levels of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) were analyzed by using Western blot. Results. The σR1 protein was expressed in retinal microglia. Incubation with LPS and/or (+)-pentazocine did not alter cell viability or σR1 protein levels. Incubation with LPS for 24 hours induced a marked change in microglial morphology and a significant increase in secreted levels of TNF-α, IL-10, MCP-1, and NO. Pretreatment with (+)-pentazocine inhibited the LPS-induced morphologic changes. Release of TNF-α, IL-10, MCP-1, and NO was reduced with (+)-pentazocine. Intracellular ROS formation was suppressed with (+)-pentazocine. Phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) was reduced in the presence of (+)-pentazocine. The σR1 antagonist BD1063 blocked the (+)-pentazocine-mediated inhibition of LPS-induced morphologic changes. In addition, BD1063 treatment blocked (+)-pentazocine-mediated suppression of LPS-induced TNF-α, IL-10, MCP-1, NO, and intracellular ROS release. Conclusions. Treatment with (+)-pentazocine suppressed inflammatory responses of retinal microglia and inhibited LPS-induced activation of ERK/JNK MAPK. In neurodegenerative disease, (+)-pentazocine may exert neuroprotective effects through manipulation of microglia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3375-3384
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 8 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Microglia
  • Neuron-glia interactions
  • Optic nerve
  • Sigma receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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