Experimental and therapeutic medicine

Roles of the µ-opioid receptor and its related signaling pathways in the pathogenesis of premenstrual syndrome liver-qi stagnation.

PMID 28587388


The present study aimed to investigate the roles of the µ-opioid receptor (MOR) and its related signaling pathways in the pathogenesis of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) liver-qi stagnation, along with the therapeutic effects of the Shu-Yu capsule in treating the condition. A PMS liver-qi stagnation rat model was established using a chronic restraint stress method. The protein expression level of MOR within rat hippocampal tissue was detected via western blot analysis and cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels within the supernatant of a rat hippocampal cell culture were determined by ELISA. The western blot analysis indicated that the hippocampal expression level of MOR was significantly elevated in the PMS liver-qi stagnation model group. However, subsequent treatment with a Shu-Yu capsule was found to significantly decrease the level of MOR expression. In addition, in vitro experiments were performed, whereby primary hippocampal neurons were treated with model rat serum. It was observed that the level of MOR expression was significantly elevated, while brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and cAMP levels in the culture supernatant were significantly decreased. These effects were reversed by treatment with serum from the Shu-Yu capsule-treated rats. Furthermore, when treated with the MOR activator DAMGO, the following were significantly decreased in the primary neurons: Phosphorylation levels of cAMP response element binding protein and extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases (ERK); BDNF expression; and cAMP content in the culture supernatant. These effects were reversed in primary neurons treated with DAMGO and Shu-Yu-containing rat serum. Collectively, the data suggest that increased MOR expression and activation of the cAMP/ERK signaling pathway in the hippocampus may be involved in the pathogenesis of PMS liver-qi stagnation. Furthermore, the efficacy of the Shu-Yu capsule in treating the condition may be via its regulation of MOR receptor signaling.

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[D-Ala2, N-Me-Phe4, Gly5-ol]-Enkephalin acetate salt, ≥97% (HPLC)