Research ArticlePain

The prolactin receptor long isoform regulates nociceptor sensitization and opioid-induced hyperalgesia selectively in females

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Translational Medicine  05 Feb 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 529, eaay7550
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aay7550

Hormonal pain modulation

Men and women experience pain differently. However, the mechanisms mediating this difference are unclear. The short isoform of the prolactin (PRL) receptor (PRLR-S), but not the long isoform (PRLR-L), has been shown to regulate the excitability of sensory neurons in female rodents. Here, Chen et al. studied opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH) and reported that opioid administration, but not trauma-induced nerve injury, augmented PRL and decreased PRLR-L in female animals, promoting the activation of PRLR-S and the development of OIH. PRL inhibition prevented the occurrence of OIH in female animals. The results suggest that targeting PRL signaling might be an effective therapy for preventing OIH in women.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Translational Medicine