There is a need to develop a novel analgesic for pain associated with interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome (IC/PBS). The use of the conventional μ-opioid receptor agonists to manage IC/PBS pain is controversial due to adverse CNS effects. These effects are attenuated in benzylideneoxymorphone (BOM), a low-efficacy μ-opioid receptor agonist/δ-opioid receptor antagonist that attenuates thermal pain and is devoid of reinforcing effects. We hypothesize that BOM will inhibit bladder pain by attenuating responses of urinary bladder distension (UBD)-sensitive afferent fibers. Therefore, the effect of BOM was tested on responses of UBD-sensitive afferent fibers in L6 dorsal root from inflamed and non-inflamed bladder of rats. Immunohistochemical (IHC) examination reveals that following the induction of inflammation there were significant high expressions of μ, δ, and μ-δ heteromer receptors in DRG. BOM dose-dependently (1-10 mg/kg, i.v) attenuated mechanotransduction properties of these afferent fibers from inflamed but not from non-inflamed rats. In behavioral model of bladder pain, BOM significantly attenuated visceromotor responses (VMRs) to UBD only in inflamed group of rats when injected either systemically (10 mg/kg, i.v.) or locally into the bladder (0.1 ml of 10 mg/ml). Furthermore, oxymorphone (OXM), a high-efficacy μ-opioid receptor agonist, attenuated responses of mechanosensitive bladder afferent fibers and VMRs to UBD. Naloxone (10 mg/kg, i.v.) significantly reversed the inhibitory effects of BOM and OXM on responses of bladder afferent fibers and VMRs suggesting μ-opioid receptor-related analgesic effects of these compounds. The results reveal that a low-efficacy, bifunctional opioid-based compound can produce analgesia by attenuating mechanotransduction functions of afferent fibers innervating the urinary bladder.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Ltd.