Interactive Effects of (±)-Trans-U50488 and Its Stereoisomers With Cannabinoids

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Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior


The adverse effects of mu opioid agonists have spurred a renewed interest in using kappa opioid receptor (KOR) agonists as analgesics. KOR agonists also have potential for development as diuretics for the treatment of edema and hypertension. Here, we evaluated the discriminative stimulus, antinociceptive, and diuretic effects of the kappa agonist (±)-trans-U-50488 and its stereoisomers (−)-(1S,2S)-U-50488 or (+)-(1R,2R)-U-50488) alone and in combination with the cannabinoid agonist (−)-CP 55,940. To establish (±)-U-50488 as a discriminative stimulus, rats (n = 12) were trained to discriminate intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of 5.6 mg/kg of (±)-trans-U-50488 from saline under a fixed-ratio 20 (FR-20) schedule of food reinforcement. Then, antinociception was assessed using two procedures: warm water tail withdrawal and von Frey paw withdrawal. Diuretic effects were assessed in separate rats (n = 6/group). Doses of (±)-U-50488 and (−)-U-50488 that served as discriminative stimuli produced significant increases in urine output, but at lower doses than those that produced antinociception. In contrast, (+)-U-50488 alone had no discriminative stimulus or diuretic effects at the doses tested, but did produce antinociception in the von Frey assay. When three cannabinoids and morphine were tested in the (±)-U-50488 discrimination procedure to determine the similarity of these drugs' discriminative stimulus effects to those for (±)-U-50488, the rank order similarity was (−)-CP 55,940 > (−)-trans-THC > (+)-WIN 55,212–2 ≥ morphine. (−)-CP 55,940 alone (0.056 mg/kg) partially substituted for the discriminative stimulus effects of (±)-U-50488 and produced significant diuretic and antinociceptive effects. (−)-CP 55,940 in combination with (±)-U-50488 also produced a two-fold leftward shift in the discriminative stimulus curve for (±)-U-50488, and near-additive antinociception with (±)-U-50488 and (+)-U-50488. Further, the diuretic effect of (−)-CP 55,940 was enhanced by a dose of (+)-U50488, which itself did not alter urine output. These data together indicate that a combination of cannabinoid and kappa opioid agonists can enhance diuresis, but may have limited potential for serving as opioid-sparing pharmacotherapeutics for treatment of pain.

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