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Morphine hyposensitivity in streptozotocin‐diabetic rats: Reversal by dietary l‐arginine treatment

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Painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN) is a long‐term complication of diabetes. Defining symptoms include mechanical allodynia (pain due to light pressure or touch) and morphine hyposensitivity. In our previous work using the streptozotocin (STZ)‐diabetic rat model of PDN, morphine hyposensitivity developed in a temporal manner with efficacy abolished at 3 months post‐STZ and maintained for 6 months post‐STZ. As this time course mimicked that for the temporal development of hyposensitivity to the pain‐relieving effects of the furoxan nitric oxide (NO) donor, PRG150 (3‐methylfuroxan‐4‐carbaldehyde) in STZ‐diabetic rats, we hypothesized that progressive depletion of endogenous NO bioactivity may underpin the temporal loss of morphine sensitivity in STZ‐diabetic rats. Furthermore, we hypothesized that replenishment of NO bioactivity may restore morphine sensitivity in these animals. Diabetes was induced in male Dark Agouti rats by intravenous injection of STZ (85 mg/kg). Diabetes was confirmed on day 7 if blood glucose concentrations were ≥15 mmol/L. Mechanical allodynia was fully developed in the bilateral hindpaws by 3 weeks of STZ‐diabetes in rats and this was maintained for the study duration. Morphine hyposensitivity developed in a temporal manner with efficacy abolished by 3 months post‐STZ. Administration of dietary l‐arginine (NO precursor) at 1 g/d to STZ‐diabetic rats according to a 15‐week prevention protocol initiated at 9 weeks post‐STZ prevented abolition of morphine efficacy. When given as an 8‐week intervention protocol in rats where morphine efficacy was abolished, dietary l‐arginine at 1 g/d progressively rescued morphine efficacy and potency. Our findings implicate NO depletion in the development of morphine hyposensitivity in STZ‐diabetic rats.
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Keywords: STZ‐diabetic rats; intervention protocol; l‐arginine; mechanical allodynia morphine; morphine hyposensitivity; nitric oxide; painful diabetic neuropathy; prevention protocol

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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