JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Parallel buprenorphine phMRI responses in conscious rodents and healthy human subjects

Lino Becerra, Jaymin Upadhyay, Pei-Ching Chang, James Bishop, Julie Anderson, Richard Baumgartner, Adam J Schwarz, Alexandre Coimbra, Diana Wallin, Lauren Nutile, Edward George, Gary Maier, Soujanya Sunkaraneni, Smriti Iyengar, Jeffrey L Evelhoch, David Bleakman, Richard Hargreaves, David Borsook
Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 2013, 345 (1): 41-51
23370795
Pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging (phMRI) is one method by which a drug's pharmacodynamic effects in the brain can be assessed. Although phMRI has been frequently used in preclinical and clinical settings, the extent to which a phMRI signature for a compound translates between rodents and humans has not been systematically examined. In the current investigation, we aimed to build on recent clinical work in which the functional response to 0.1 and 0.2 mg/70 kg i.v. buprenorphine (partial µ-opioid receptor agonist) was measured in healthy humans. Here, we measured the phMRI response to 0.04 and 0.1 mg/kg i.v. buprenorphine in conscious, naive rats to establish the parallelism of the phMRI signature of buprenorphine across species. PhMRI of 0.04 and 0.1 mg/kg i.v. buprenorphine yielded dose-dependent activation in a brain network composed of the somatosensory cortex, cingulate, insula, striatum, thalamus, periaqueductal gray, and cerebellum. Similar dose-dependent phMRI activation was observed in the human phMRI studies. These observations indicate an overall preservation of pharmacodynamic responses to buprenorphine between conscious, naive rodents and healthy human subjects, particularly in brain regions implicated in pain and analgesia. This investigation further demonstrates the usefulness of phMRI as a translational tool in neuroscience research that can provide mechanistic insight and guide dose selection in drug development.

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