June 24, 2022

Newly developed addiction-free painkiller targets inflammation

Researchers from the University of Virginia have detailed the discovery of a potential new painkiller that shows promise for offering relief without the addictive potential of existing opioid painkillers. According to a recently published study, pain relief involves diacylglycerol lipase-beta (DAGL?) inhibitors which show anti-inflammatory and analgesic potential without the negative side effects.

Painkillers, although a vital tool for people with acute and chronic conditions, remain a problem for society as a whole. Commonly available nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often used over long periods of time for chronic conditions like arthritis, but can lead to the development of gastrointestinal problems, resulting in health care costs and hospital visits. ‘hospital.

Additionally, stronger opioid painkillers, which are often prescribed for severe types of pain, have serious addictive potential. The ramifications of this potential have become a growing problem for society, which increasingly faces criminal, legal, productivity, and health care issues related to opioid addiction.

These issues have prompted research into potential pain-relieving alternatives that don’t have the same gastrointestinal, liver, and addictive issues as commonly used substances. We’ve seen promising studies detailing new solutions, including snail venom which has incredibly powerful pain-relieving effects.

Joining this body of research is the new study from the University of Virginia, where researchers Ken Hsu and Myungsun Shin identified the enzyme DAGL? and its ability to “chew fat molecules”. Chemical signals that control inflammation are produced by the activity of this enzyme, suggesting a potential pathway for pain relief.

Hsu has developed selective molecules capable of inhibiting the enzyme, leading to a reduction in inflammation similar to the effect of taking aspirin. Preclinical models involving labor, however, indicate that the inhibitors do not have the same addictive potential and gastrointestinal side effects as existing painkillers.

Inhibitors have been shown to be effective for different types of pain, including pain related to peripheral neuropathy. However, blocking the enzyme did not negatively impact immunity, suggesting the potential for use as a long-term pain treatment option.