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. 2020 Apr;191:172877.
doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2020.172877. Epub 2020 Feb 20.

Analgesic Treatment With Buprenorphine Should Be Adapted to the Mouse Strain

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Analgesic Treatment With Buprenorphine Should Be Adapted to the Mouse Strain

Juliane Rudeck et al. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. .
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Abstract

Buprenorphine is a commonly used opioid to treat moderate to severe pain in mice. Although strain differences regarding basal pain sensitivity and the analgesic effect of other opioids have been described for mice, the data for buprenorphine is incomplete. Hence, we investigated basal pain sensitivity and the analgesic effect of buprenorphine (0.42, 4.0 mg·kg-1) in male C57BL/6J, Balb/cJ and 129S1/SvImJ mice using the incremental hot plate. Additionally, we verified single nucleotide polymorphisms in Cytochrome P450 3a (Cyp3a) genes, which encode for enzymes that are relevant for buprenorphine metabolism, and analyzed serum and brain concentrations of buprenorphine and its metabolites. Finally, in a pilot survey we determined μ-opioid receptor (MOR) protein expression in whole brain lysates. Basal pain sensitivity differed significantly between the mouse strains (Balb/cJ > C57BL/6J > 129S1/SvImJ). Additionally, buprenorphine showed a dose- and strain-dependent effect: at a higher dose it led to increased antinociception in C57BL/6J and Balb/cJ mice, whereas in 129S1/SvImJ mice this effect was diminished. Serum and brain concentrations of buprenorphine and its metabolites dose-dependently increased and differed slightly between the strains at the high dose. However, these slight strain differences did not correlate with pain behavior. Furthermore, serum buprenorphine metabolic ratio and distribution of buprenorphine and its metabolites between brain and blood showed no dose- and only some strain-dependent differences independent from nociceptive behavior. Western blot analysis revealed no strain difference in the basal MOR protein expression in brain lysates. Our results indicate that buprenorphine dosing should be determined in a pilot study for the respective mouse strain to optimize pain treatment and to avoid unwanted side effects. The present pharmacokinetic data and the coarse determination of MOR expression do not explain the strain differences in the analgesic effect of buprenorphine. However, follow-up studies focusing on more specific pharmacodynamic factors could further elucidate the reasons.

Keywords: Buprenorphine; Metabolism; Mouse; Mu-opioid receptor; Refinement; Strain specific.

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