Publications by authors named "Karan H Muchhala"

9 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Chemotherapy induced gastrointestinal toxicities.

Adv Cancer Res 2022 21;155:131-166. Epub 2022 Mar 21.

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, United States.

Chemotherapy-induced gastrointestinal dysfunction is a common occurrence associated with many different classes of chemotherapeutic agents. Gastrointestinal toxicity includes mucositis, diarrhea, and constipation, and can often be a dose-limiting complication, induce cessation of treatment and could be life threatening. The gastrointestinal epithelium is rich in rapidly dividing cells and hence is a prime target for chemotherapeutic drugs. The incidence of gastrointestinal toxicity, including diarrhea and mucositis, is extremely high for a wide array of chemotherapeutic and radiation regimens. In fact, 60%-100% of patients on high-dose chemotherapy suffer from gastrointestinal side effects. Unfortunately, treatment options are limited, and therapy is often restricted to palliative care. Therefore, there is a great unmet therapeutic need for preventing and treating chemotherapy-induced gastrointestinal toxicities in the clinic. In this review, we discuss our current understanding of the mechanisms underlying chemotherapy-induced diarrhea and mucositis, and emerging mechanisms involving the enteric nervous system, smooth muscle cells and enteric immune cells. Recent evidence has also implicated gut dysbiosis in the pathogenesis of not only chemotherapy-induced mucositis and diarrhea, but also chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Oxidative stress induced by chemotherapeutic agents results in post-translational modification of ion channels altering neuronal excitability. Thus, investigating how chemotherapy-induced changes in the gut- microbiome axis may lead to gut-related toxicities will be critical in the discovery of new drug targets for mitigating adverse gastrointestinal effects associated with chemotherapy treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/bs.acr.2022.02.007DOI Listing
July 2022

Morphine Exacerbates Experimental Colitis-Induced Depression of Nesting in Mice.

Front Pain Res (Lausanne) 2021 13;2:738499. Epub 2021 Dec 13.

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, United States.

Opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are excellent analgesics, but recent clinical evidence suggests that these drugs might worsen disease severity in Crohn's disease patients, limiting their clinical utility for treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). One indicator of change in well-being from conditions such as IBD is behavioral depression and disruption to activities of daily living. Preclinical measures of behavioral depression can provide an indicator of changes in quality of life and subsequent modification by candidate analgesics. In mice, nesting is an adaptive unconditioned behavior that is susceptible to disruption by noxious stimuli, and some types of pain related nesting depression are responsive to opioid and NSAID analgesics. Here we show that a 2, 4, 6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS) model of experimental colitis depresses nesting behavior in mice, and we evaluated effects of morphine, an opioid, and ketoprofen, a NSAID, on TNBS-induced nesting depression. In Swiss Webster mice, TNBS significantly reduced nesting that peaked on Day 3 and recovered in a time-dependent manner with complete recovery by Day 7. In the absence of colonic inflammation, daily treatment with morphine (1-10 mg/kg) did not decrease nesting except at 10mg/kg/day. However, in TNBS-treated mice 3.2 mg/kg/day morphine significantly exacerbated TNBS-induced nesting depression and delayed recovery. While 3.2 mg/kg/day morphine alone did not alter locomotor activity and TNBS-induced depression of locomotion recovered, the combination of TNBS and 3.2 mg/kg/day morphine significantly attenuated locomotion and prevented recovery. Daily treatment with 3.2 or 10 mg/kg ketoprofen in TNBS-treated mice did not prevent depression of nesting. These data suggest that opioid analgesics but not NSAIDS worsen colonic inflammation-induced behavioral depression. Furthermore, these findings highlight the importance of evaluating analgesic effects in models of colonic inflammation induced depression of behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpain.2021.738499DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8915634PMC
December 2021

Sex-specific role for serotonin 5-HT receptor in modulation of opioid-induced antinociception and reward in mice.

Neuropharmacology 2022 05 17;209:108988. Epub 2022 Feb 17.

Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, VA, 23298, USA. Electronic address:

Opioids are among the most effective analgesics and the mainstay of pain management. However, concerns about safety and abuse liability have challenged their widespread use by the medical community. Opioid-sparing therapies include drugs that in combination with opioids have the ability to enhance analgesia while decreasing opioid requirement as well as their side effects. Sex differences in antinociceptive responses to opioids have received increasing attention in recent years. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying sex differences related to opioid-sparing adjuncts remain largely unexplored. Using warm water tail-withdrawal as a mouse model of acute thermal nociception, our data suggest that adjunctive administration of the serotonin 5-HT receptor (5-HTR) antagonist volinanserin dose-dependently enhanced potency of the opioid analgesic oxycodone in male, but not female, mice. This antinociceptive-like response induced by oxycodone was also augmented in 5-HTR knockout (5-HTR) male, but not female mice; an effect that was reversed by Cre-loxP-mediated selective expression of 5-HTR in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons of 5-HTR littermates. Pharmacological inhibition with volinanserin or genetic deletion in 5-HTR animals potentiated the ability of oxycodone to reduce DRG excitability in male mice. Adjunctive volinanserin did not affect oxycodone-induced conditioned place preference (CPP), whereas it reduced oxycodone-induced locomotor sensitization in male and female mice. Together, these results suggest that adjunctive volinanserin augments opioid-induced antinociception, but not abuse-related behavior, through a sex-specific signaling crosstalk mechanism that requires 5-HTR expression in mouse DRG neurons. Ultimately, our results may pave the way for the clinical evaluation of volinanserin as a potential sex-specific opioid adjuvant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2022.108988DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8934299PMC
May 2022

Chronic Morphine Induces IL-18 in Ileum Myenteric Plexus Neurons Through Mu-opioid Receptor Activation in Cholinergic and VIPergic Neurons.

J Neuroimmune Pharmacol 2022 Feb 2. Epub 2022 Feb 2.

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1112 E. Clay Street, Richmond, VA, 23298, USA.

The gastrointestinal epithelium is critical for maintaining a symbiotic relationship with commensal microbiota. Chronic morphine exposure can compromise the gut epithelial barrier in mice and lead to dysbiosis. Recently, studies have implicated morphine-induced dysbiosis in the mechanism of antinociceptive tolerance and reward, suggesting the presence of a gut-brain axis in the pharmacological effects of morphine. However, the mechanism(s) underlying morphine-induced changes in the gut microbiome remains unclear. The pro-inflammatory cytokine, Interleukin-18 (IL-18), released by enteric neurons can modulate gut barrier function. Therefore, in the present study we investigated the effect of morphine on IL-18 expression in the mouse ileum. We observed that chronic morphine exposure in vivo induces IL-18 expression in the ileum myenteric plexus that is attenuated by naloxone. Given that mu-opioid receptors (MORs) are mainly expressed in enteric neurons, we also characterized morphine effects on the excitability of cholinergic (excitatory) and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP)-expressing (inhibitory) myenteric neurons. We found fundamental differences in the electrical properties of cholinergic and VIP neurons such that VIP neurons are more excitable than cholinergic neurons. Furthermore, MORs were primarily expressed in cholinergic neurons, although a subset of VIP neurons also expressed MORs and responded to morphine in electrophysiology experiments. In conclusion, these data show that morphine increases IL-18 in ileum myenteric plexus neurons via activation of MORs in a subset of cholinergic and VIP neurons. Thus, understanding the neurochemistry and electrophysiology of MOR-expressing enteric neurons can help to delineate mechanisms by which morphine perturbs the gut barrier.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11481-021-10050-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9343479PMC
February 2022

The Guts of the Opioid Crisis.

Physiology (Bethesda) 2021 09;36(5):315-323

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.

Bidirectional interactions of the gut epithelium with commensal bacteria are critical for maintaining homeostasis within the gut. Chronic opioid exposure perturbs gut homeostasis through a multitude of neuro-immune-epithelial mechanisms, resulting in the development of analgesic tolerance, a major underpinning of the current opioid crisis. Differences in molecular mechanisms of opioid tolerance between the enteric and central pain pathways pose a significant challenge for managing chronic pain without untoward gastrointestinal effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/physiol.00014.2021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8813205PMC
September 2021

Role of β-arrestin-2 in short- and long-term opioid tolerance in the dorsal root ganglia.

Eur J Pharmacol 2021 May 8;899:174007. Epub 2021 Mar 8.

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1112 East Clay St, Richmond, VA, 23298, USA. Electronic address:

G-protein-biased agonists with reduced β-arrestin-2 activation are being investigated as safer alternatives to clinically-used opioids. β-arrestin-2 has been implicated in the mechanism of opioid-induced antinociceptive tolerance. Opioid-induced analgesic tolerance is classically considered as centrally-mediated, but recent reports implicate nociceptive dorsal root ganglia neurons as critical mediators in this process. Here, we investigated the role of β-arrestin-2 in the mechanism of opioid tolerance in dorsal root ganglia nociceptive neurons using β-arrestin-2 knockout mice and the G-protein-biased μ-opioid receptor agonist, TRV130. Whole-cell current-clamp electrophysiology experiments revealed that 15-18-h overnight exposure to 10 μM morphine in vitro induced acute tolerance in β-arrestin-2 wild-type but not knockout neurons. Furthermore, in wild-type neurons circumventing β-arrestin-2 activation by overnight treatment with 200 nM TRV130 attenuated tolerance. Similarly, acute morphine tolerance in vivo in β-arrestin-2 knockout mice was prevented in the warm-water tail-withdrawal assay. Treatment with 30 mg/kg TRV130 s.c. also inhibited acute antinociceptive tolerance in vivo in wild-type mice. Alternately, in β-arrestin-2 knockout neurons tolerance induced by 7-day in vivo exposure to 50 mg morphine pellet was conserved. Likewise, β-arrestin-2 deletion did not mitigate in vivo antinociceptive tolerance induced by 7-day exposure to 25 mg or 50 mg morphine pellet in both female or male mice, respectively. Consequently, these results indicated that β-arrestin-2 mediates acute but not chronic opioid tolerance in dorsal root ganglia neurons and to antinociception in vivo. This suggests that opioid-induced antinociceptive tolerance may develop even in the absence of β-arrestin-2 activation, and thus significantly affect the clinical utility of biased agonists.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2021.174007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8058323PMC
May 2021

The "Culture" of Pain Control: A Review of Opioid-Induced Dysbiosis (OID) in Antinociceptive Tolerance.

J Pain 2020 Jul - Aug;21(7-8):751-762. Epub 2019 Dec 11.

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia. Electronic address:

It is increasingly recognized that chronic opioid use leads to maladaptive changes in the composition and localization of gut bacteria. Recently, this "opioid-induced dysbiosis" (OID) has been linked to antinociceptive tolerance development in preclinical models and may therefore identify promising targets for new opioid-sparing strategies. Such developments are critical to curb dose escalations in the clinical setting and combat the ongoing opioid epidemic. In this article, we review the existing literature that pertains to OID, including the current evidence regarding its qualitative nature, influence on antinociceptive tolerance, and future prospects. PERSPECTIVE: This article reviews the current literature on OID of gut bacteria, including its qualitative nature, influence on antinociceptive tolerance, and future prospects. This work may help identify targets for new opioid-sparing strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2019.11.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7286790PMC
November 2021

Effects of acute and repeated treatment with the biased mu opioid receptor agonist TRV130 (oliceridine) on measures of antinociception, gastrointestinal function, and abuse liability in rodents.

J Psychopharmacol 2017 06 1;31(6):730-739. Epub 2017 Feb 1.

2 Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.

Rationale: TRV130 (oliceridine; N-[(3-methoxythiophen-2-yl)methyl]-2-[(9 R)-9-pyridin-2-yl-6-oxaspiro[4.5]decan-9-yl]ethanamine) is a novel mu opioid receptor (MOR) agonist that preferentially activates G-protein versus β-arrestin signaling pathways coupled to MORs. Prevailing evidence suggests that TRV130 and other G-protein-biased MOR agonists may produce therapeutic analgesic effects with reduced adverse effects compared to existing MOR agonists.

Objectives: This study compared the effects of acute and repeated TRV130 administration on measures of antinociception, gastrointestinal function, and abuse liability in rodents. We hypothesized that TRV130 would produce robust and sustained antinociception and abuse-related effects during repeated treatment, but that tolerance would develop to gastrointestinal inhibition.

Methods: Antinociception was assessed using a warm-water tail-withdrawal procedure in mice. Gastrointestinal function was assessed in mice using an in vivo measure of fecal output and in vitro assays of colonic propulsion and of colon and ileum circular muscle contraction. Abuse liability was assessed in rats using an intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) procedure. (+)-TRV130 was administered with acute and repeated dosing regimens, and (-)-TRV130 was also examined in the ICSS procedure to assess stereoselectivity.

Results: Acute (+)-TRV130 treatment produced robust antinociception, complete inhibition of gastrointestinal function, and weak abuse-related effects. Repeated (+)-TRV130 treatment failed to produce tolerance to antinociception or gastrointestinal inhibition, and abuse-related effects were enhanced by repeated treatment. Effects of acute and repeated (+)-TRV130 in these procedures resemble effects of morphine, with the exception that TRV130 antinociception was more resistant to tolerance. (-)-TRV130 was inactive.

Conclusions: These results suggest that TRV130 retains undesirable constipating and abuse-related effects during repeated treatment despite its bias for G-protein signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269881116689257DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5646680PMC
June 2017

Glycine and GABA(A) ultra-sensitive ethanol receptors as novel tools for alcohol and brain research.

Mol Pharmacol 2014 Dec 22;86(6):635-46. Epub 2014 Sep 22.

Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences (A.N., K.H.M., R.L.A.) and Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy (L.A., D.L.D.), University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, Los Angeles, California; Department of Anesthesia, Beckman Program for Molecular and Genetic Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, California (J.R.T.); Departments of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (G.E.H.); and Amgen Inc., Thousand Oaks, California (D.I.P.).

A critical obstacle to developing effective medications to prevent and/or treat alcohol use disorders is the lack of specific knowledge regarding the plethora of molecular targets and mechanisms underlying alcohol (ethanol) action in the brain. To identify the role of individual receptor subunits in ethanol-induced behaviors, we developed a novel class of ultra-sensitive ethanol receptors (USERs) that allow activation of a single receptor subunit population sensitized to extremely low ethanol concentrations. USERs were created by mutating as few as four residues in the extracellular loop 2 region of glycine receptors (GlyRs) or γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptors (GABA(A)Rs), which are implicated in causing many behavioral effects linked to ethanol abuse. USERs, expressed in Xenopus oocytes and tested using two-electrode voltage clamp, demonstrated an increase in ethanol sensitivity of 100-fold over wild-type receptors by significantly decreasing the threshold and increasing the magnitude of ethanol response, without altering general receptor properties including sensitivity to the neurosteroid, allopregnanolone. These profound changes in ethanol sensitivity were observed across multiple subunits of GlyRs and GABA(A)Rs. Collectively, our studies set the stage for using USER technology in genetically engineered animals as a unique tool to increase understanding of the neurobiological basis of the behavioral effects of ethanol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/mol.114.093773DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4244596PMC
December 2014
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