The effect of morphine on glial cells as a potential therapeutic target for pharmacological development of analgesic drugs

Haroon Hameed, Mariam Hameed, Paul J. Christo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Opioids have played a critical role in achieving pain relief in both modern and ancient medicine. Yet, their clinical use can be limited secondary to unwanted side effects such as tolerance, dependence, reward, and behavioral changes. Identification of glial-mediated mechanisms inducing opioid side effects include cytokine receptors, ?-opioid receptors, N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors, and the recently elucidated Toll-like receptors. Newer agents targeting these receptors such as AV411, MK-801, AV333, and SLC022, and older agents used outside the United States or for other disease conditions, such as minocycline, pentoxifylline, and UV50488H, all show varied but promising profiles for providing significant relief from opioid side effects, while simultaneously potentiating opioid analgesia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-104
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent pain and headache reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010



  • Analgesia
  • Chronic pain
  • Dependence
  • Dizocilpine
  • Glial cell
  • Ibudilast
  • Minocycline
  • Morphine
  • NMDA
  • Opioid receptor
  • Pain relief
  • Pentoxifylline
  • Propentofylline
  • Reward
  • Tolerance
  • Toll-like receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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