The opium poppy is a natural source of opioids such as morphine. Although they are revered for their potent pain-relieving effects, when used chronically, opioids can lead to analgesic tolerance, hyperalgesia and withdrawal. Burma et al. (p 355) show that pannexin-1 (Panx1) channels on spinal microglia are essential for opioid withdrawal, and that blocking Panx1 can alleviate opioid withdrawal in rodents. Puig and Gutstein (p 272) discuss these findings alongside those recently reported by Corder et al. in the February issue of Nature Medicine. Illustration credit: Nicole Burma, Trang laboratory.

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Categories: Research