Neural Mechanisms of Morphine Tolerance
Opiates such as morphine are the most effective treatment for pain. Unfortunately, the ability of opioids to relieve pain is reduced with repeated administration. The primary goal of our research is to determine the neural changes underlying tolerance so that long-lasting and effective pain treatments can be developed. Our research has shown that opioid-sensitive GABAergic neurons in the ventrolateral region of the periaqueductal gray (PAG) contribute to tolerance. Injection of opioids into this brain region produces analgesia, and repeated injections result in tolerance. Current studies focus on the role of mu-opioid receptor internalization in morphine tolerance.
List of Specific Research Interests:
1. Neural mechanisms underlying tolerance to the analgesic effects of opioids.
2. Contribution of the periaqueductal gray in pain modulation.
3. Changes in pain modulation and chronic pain as a long-lasting consequence of psychostimulant abuse.
4. Sex differences in pain modulation.