Abstract Title:

The effects of kratom on restraint-stress-induced analgesia and its mechanisms of action.

Abstract Source:

J Ethnopharmacol. 2017 Jun 9 ;205:178-185. Epub 2017 May 10. PMID: 28501425

Abstract Author(s):

José Luis Vázquez López, Lorenz Schild, Thomas Günther, Stefan Schulz, Hartmud Neurath, Axel Becker

Article Affiliation:

José Luis Vázquez López


ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Mitragyna speciosa and its extracts are called kratom (dried leaves, extract). They contain several alkaloids with an affinity for different opioid receptors. They are used in traditional medicine for the treatment of different diseases, as a substitute by opiate addicts, and to mitigate opioid withdrawal symptoms. Apart from their medical properties, they are used to enhance physical endurance and as a means of overcoming stress.

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to determine the mechanisms underlying the effects of kratom on restraint-stress-induced analgesia which occurs during or following exposure to a stressful or fearful stimulus.

METHODS: To gain further insights into the action of kratom on stress, we conducted experiments using restraint stress as a test system and stress-induced analgesia as a test parameter. Using transgenic mu opioid-receptor (MOR) deficient mice, we studied the involvement of this receptor type. We used nor-binaltorphimine (BNT), an antagonist at kappa opioid receptors (KOR), to study functions of this type of receptor. Membrane potential assay was also employed to measure the intrinsic activity of kratom in comparison to U50,488, a highly selective kappa agonist.

RESULTS: Treatment with kratom diminished stress-induced analgesia in wildtype and MOR knockout animals. Pretreatment of MOR deficient mice with BNT resulted in similar effects. In comparison to U50,488, kratom exhibited negligible intrinsic activity at KOR alone.

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that the use of kratom as a pharmacological tool to mitigate withdrawal symptoms is related to its action on KOR.

Study Type : Animal Study
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