Whether G protein-coupled receptors signal from endosomes to control important pathophysiological processes and are therapeutic targets is uncertain. We report that opioids from the inflamed colon activate δ-opioid receptors (DOPr) in endosomes of nociceptors. Biopsy samples of inflamed colonic mucosa from patients and mice with colitis released opioids that activated DOPr on nociceptors to cause a sustained decrease in excitability. DOPr agonists inhibited mechanically sensitive colonic nociceptors. DOPr endocytosis and endosomal signaling by protein kinase C (PKC) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathways mediated the sustained inhibitory actions of endogenous opioids and DOPr agonists. DOPr agonists stimulated the recruitment of Gαi/o and β-arrestin1/2 to endosomes. Analysis of compartmentalized signaling revealed a requirement of DOPr endocytosis for activation of PKC at the plasma membrane and in the cytosol and ERK in the nucleus. We explored a nanoparticle delivery strategy to evaluate whether endosomal DOPr might be a therapeutic target for pain. The DOPr agonist DADLE was coupled to a liposome shell for targeting DOPr-positive nociceptors and incorporated into a mesoporous silica core for release in the acidic and reducing endosomal environment. Nanoparticles activated DOPr at the plasma membrane, were preferentially endocytosed by DOPr-expressing cells, and were delivered to DOPr-positive early endosomes. Nanoparticles caused a long-lasting activation of DOPr in endosomes, which provided sustained inhibition of nociceptor excitability and relief from inflammatory pain. Conversely, nanoparticles containing a DOPr antagonist abolished the sustained inhibitory effects of DADLE. Thus, DOPr in endosomes is an endogenous mechanism and a therapeutic target for relief from chronic inflammatory pain.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jun 30 2020|
- G protein-coupled receptors
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