More Evidence of the Power of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplant to Block Opioid-Induced Hyperalgesia and Tolerance

Feb 18, 2016, 20:00 ET from American Academy of Pain Medicine

PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Feb. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cleveland Clinic researchers have found new evidence that modulating neuroinflammation with stem cell transplants may prove to be an effective strategy to treat both opioid tolerance (OT) and opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH). The latest results in this line of inquiry, which may have the potential to transform opioid therapy for pain, are on view today at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

The investigators found that the development of OT and OIH was effectively prevented in rats by either intravenous (IV) or intrathecal mesenchymal stem cell (MSCs), which were transplanted before morphine treatment. Furthermore, established OT and OIH were significantly reversed when the timing of the transplants followed repeated morphine injections.

"We have demonstrated that MSC transplantation promises to be a potentially safe and effective way to prevent and reverse two of the major problems associated with opioid therapy," said Jianguo Cheng, MD, PhD, professor of anesthesiology and director of the Cleveland Clinic Pain Medicine Fellowship Program.

"This emerging therapy has enormous potential to profoundly impact clinical practice. It may improve the efficacy of opioid therapy, reduce the risk of opioid overdose and save lives," he said.

Using immunohistochemistry, they found that the treatments significantly reduced the activity of microglia and astrocytes in the spinal cord. The analysis of safety measures revealed no abnormalities in the animals' vital organs or functions.  The investigators are planning a preclinical investigation in preparation for clinical trials.

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SOURCE American Academy of Pain Medicine