This is an application for a Small Grant Award under the priority category of newer, less experienced investigators. Opioids are the most important drugs used in pain treatment. However, in addition to desirable analgesic properties, opioids have undesirable side effects such as the development of tolerance, physical dependence and the risk of addicition. We propose that tolerance development involves a series of layered events that result in a complex clinical picture. Very little is known about the signaling mechanisms underlying the development of acute tolerance and cross tolerance to opioids or the temporal sequence of these adaptations. The long term goals of this research are to understand signaling mechanisms responsible for the development of tolerance to, cross tolerance to, and physical dependence on opioids. The short term goals of this proposal are to characterize the role of extracellular signal related kinase (ERK) in the development of acute tolerance and cross tolerance, and to determine the relevance of these findings in behaving animals. We shall achieve these goals by using molecular and behavioral techniques to test the following hypotheses: A) Opioid tolerance may be mediated by the extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) cascade. B) Desensitization of ERK responses may be responsible for the development of cross-tolerance. To test these hypotheses, we propose studies with the following specific aims:
Aim 1 : To correlate ERK activation by mu opioid agonists to their receptor binding affinity, efficacy, or in vitro potency.
Aim 2 : To characterize trhe effects of acut mu opioid administration on ERK activation by subsequent doses of agonists or potential cross-tolerating agents.
Aim 3 : To assess the effects of ERK cascade inhibitors on the development of acute opioid tolerance in behaving animals. Taken together, these studies will correlate ERK activation with other indices of agonist efficacy and potency, and assess the role of ERK in the development of acute opioid tolerance. These experiments could lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets that may eventually enable physicians to sustain the effectiveness of opioid analgesics while diminishing their undesirable side effects and addictive potential.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Type
Small Research Grants (R03)
Project #
5R03DA011500-03
Application #
6030108
Study Section
Human Development Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
Project Start
1998-01-15
Project End
2001-06-30
Budget Start
1999-07-01
Budget End
2001-06-30
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
1999
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department
Anesthesiology
Type
Other Domestic Higher Education
DUNS #
001910777
City
Houston
State
TX
Country
United States
Zip Code
77030
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Mouledous, Lionel; Diaz, Miguel F; Gutstein, Howard B (2004) Modulation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activity by acute and chronic opioid treatment in neuronal and glial cell lines. J Neurochem 90:1371-7
Mouledous, Lionel; Hunt, Sybille; Harcourt, Rebecca et al. (2003) Navigated laser capture microdissection as an alternative to direct histological staining for proteomic analysis of brain samples. Proteomics 3:610-5
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Gutstein, H B (2001) The biologic basis of fatigue. Cancer 92:1678-83