Local analgesic effect of endogenous opioid peptides


Local analgesic effect of endogenous opioid peptides


Stein C; Hassan AH; Lehrberger K; Giefing J; Yassouridis A






Humans; Pain; Adult; Aged; Middle Aged; Double-Blind Method; Biomarkers of Pain; Injections; Intravenous; Receptors; Opioid/drug effects; Immunohistochemistry; Enkephalin; Arthroscopy; beta-Endorphin/analysis/physiology; Dynorphins/analysis/physiology; Endorphins/analysis/physiology; Intra-Articular; Knee Joint/surgery; Methionine/analysis/physiology; Naloxone/administration & dosage/pharmacology; Postoperative/etiology; Synovial Membrane/chemistry; Synovitis/metabolism


Opioids produce analgesia by interacting with local opioid receptors in peripheral inflamed tissue. This study investigated whether endogenous ligands of these receptors are present in synovia and whether such opioid peptides can inhibit pain by activation of intra-articular opioid receptors. Samples of synovium from 8 patients undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery were examined by immunohistochemistry for the presence of beta-endorphin, met-enkephalin, and dynorphin. All tissue samples showed synovitis. Inflammatory cells stained strongly for beta-endorphin and met-enkephalin but not for dynorphin. To find out whether blockade of intra-articular opioid receptors affected pain, we randomly assigned 22 patients undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to receive naloxone (0.04 mg) intra-articularly (n = 10) or intravenously (n = 12); each patient received a placebo injection into the other site. Postoperative pain was assessed by visual analogue scale, a numerical rating scale, the McGill pain questionnaire, and supplementary analgesic consumption during the next 24 h. All pain scores were higher in the intra-articular naloxone group than in the intravenous naloxone group. The differences were significant (p < 0.05) during the first 4 h. Supplementary analgesic consumption was significantly higher in the intra-articular group (52.5 [14.0] vs 15.6 [8.0] mg diclofenac, p < 0.05). Opioid peptides are present in inflamed synovial tissue and can inhibit pain after knee surgery through an action specific to intra-articular opioid receptors. These findings expand the gate control theory of pain and suggest new approaches such as the development of peripherally acting opioid analgesics without central side-effects.


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Stein C; Hassan AH; Lehrberger K; Giefing J; Yassouridis A, “Local analgesic effect of endogenous opioid peptides,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed February 24, 2024, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/12302.