Over a 15-year period, key scientific discoveries were made that changed our understanding of the important roles pannexin-1 channels play in opioid withdrawal, chronic pain, stroke, and cognitive impairment. These discoveries were led by three researchers from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary: Drs. Tuan Trang, Roger Thompson, and Darren Derksen.
Opioid use and abuse is a significant social, health and economic issue in Canada. Researchers at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) and Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) have discovered that an existing anti-gout medication is effective in reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms in opioid-dependent rodents.
Opioids are the mainstay of treatment strategies to reduce pain, but withdrawal can be a serious problem when patients stop taking these drugs. However, beyond the recognition that microglia play a role in this phenomenon, little is known about the cellular mechanisms involved. Now, new research shows how microglia contribute to withdrawal in rodents and identifies a potential path toward easing withdrawal in patients.