Naltrexone blocks alcohol-induced effects on kappa-opioid receptors in the plasma membrane.

Terenius L, Oasa S, Sezgin E, Ma Y, Horne D, Radmiković M, Jovanović-Talisman T, Martin-Fardon R, Vukojevic V

Res Sq - (-) - [2023-07-21; online 2023-07-21]

Naltrexone (NTX), a homologue of the opiate antidote naloxone, is an orally active long-acting mu-opioid receptor (MOP) antagonist used in the treatment of opiate dependence. NTX is also found to relieve craving for alcohol and is one of the few FDA-approved drugs for alcohol use disorder (AUD). Reports that NTX blocks the actions of endogenous opioids released by alcohol are not convincing, suggesting that NTX interferes with alcohol actions by affecting opioid receptors. MOP and kappa-opioid receptor (KOP) are structurally related but functionally different. MOP is mainly located in interneurons activated by enkephalins while KOP is located in longer projections activated by dynorphins. While the actions of NTX on MOP are well established, the interaction with KOP and addiction is not well understood. We used sensitive fluorescence-based methods to study the influence of alcohol on KOP and the interaction between KOP and NTX. Here we report that alcohol interacts with KOP and its environment in the plasma membrane. These interactions are affected by NTX and are exerted both on KOP directly and on the plasma membrane (lipid) structures ("off-target"). The actions of NTX are stereospecific. Selective KOP antagonists, recently in early clinical trials for major depressive disorder, block the receptor but do not show the full action profile of NTX. The therapeutic effect of NTX treatment in AUD may be due to direct actions on KOP and the receptor environment.

Erdinc Sezgin

SciLifeLab Fellow

PubMed 37503185

DOI 10.21203/

Crossref 10.21203/

pmc: PMC10371157

Publications 9.5.0