The analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of Salvinorin A analogue β-tetrahydropyran Salvinorin B in mice

K. F. Paton, N. Kumar, R. S. Crowley, J. L. Harper, T. E. Prisinzano, B. M. Kivell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: Drugs activating the mu opioid receptor are routinely used to treat severe acute and chronic pain. Unfortunately, side effects including nausea, constipation, respiratory depression, addiction and tolerance can limit clinical utility. In contrast, kappa opioid receptor (KOPr) agonists, such as Salvinorin A (SalA), have analgesic properties with little potential for abuse. Methods: We evaluated SalA and the novel analogue β-tetrahydropyran Salvinorin B (β-THP SalB) for the ability to modulate pain and inflammation in vivo. The hot water tail-withdrawal assay, intradermal formalin-induced inflammatory pain and paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain models were used to evaluate analgesic properties in mice. Tissue infiltration of inflammatory cells was measured by histology and flow cytometry. Results: β-tetrahydropyran Salvinorin B produced a longer duration of action in the tail-withdrawal assay compared to the parent compound SalA, and, like SalA and U50,488, β-THP SalB is a full agonist at the KOPr. In the formalin-induced inflammatory pain model, β-THP SalB and SalA significantly reduced pain score, paw oedema and limited the infiltration of neutrophils into the inflamed tissue. β-THP SalB and SalA supressed both mechanical and cold allodynia in the paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain model, in a dose-dependent manner. Conclusions: Structural modification of SalA at the C-2 position alters its analgesic potency and efficacy in vivo. Substitution with a tetrahydropyran group at C-2 produced potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, including a reduction in paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain. This study highlights the potential for KOPr agonists as analgesics with anti-inflammatory action and little risk of abuse. Significance: Salvinorin A and the novel analogue β-THP Salvinorin B show analgesic effects in the tail-withdrawal and formalin assays. They reduce oedema and decrease neutrophil infiltration into inflamed tissue, and suppress mechanical and cold allodynia in paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1050
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain (United Kingdom)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 European Pain Federation - EFIC®

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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