Anti-inflammatory actions of β-funaltrexamine in a mouse model of lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation

Stephanie Myers, Kelly McCracken, Daniel J. Buck, J. Thomas Curtis, Randall L. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neuroinflammation is involved in a wide range of brain disorders, thus there is great interest in identifying novel anti-inflammatory agents to include in therapeutic strategies. Our previous in vitro studies revealed that beta-funaltrexamine (β-FNA), a well-characterized selective mu-opioid receptor (MOR) antagonist, inhibits inflammatory signaling in human astroglial cells, albeit through an apparent MOR-independent mechanism. We also previously determined that lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced sickness behavior and neuroinflammation in mice are prevented by pretreatment with β-FNA. Herein we investigated the temporal importance of β-FNA treatment in this pre-clinical model of LPS-induced neuroinflammation. Adult, male C57BL/6J mice were administered an i.p. injection of LPS followed by treatment (i.p. injection) with β-FNA immediately or 4 h post-LPS. Sickness behavior was assessed using an open-field test, followed by assessment of inflammatory signaling in the brain, spleen, and plasma. Levels of inflammatory chemokines/cytokines (interferon γ-induced protein, CXCL10; monocyte chemotactic protein 1, CCL2; and interleukin-6, IL-6) in tissues were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and nuclear factor-kappa B (NFκB), p38 mitogen activated kinase (p38 MAPK), and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expression were measured by western blot. LPS-induced sickness behavior and chemokine expression were inhibited more effectively when β-FNA treatment occurred immediately after LPS administration, as opposed to 4 h post-LPS; and β-FNA-mediated effects were time-dependent as evidenced by inhibition at 24 h, but not at 8 h. The inhibitory effects of β-FNA on chemokine expression were more evident in the brain versus the spleen or plasma. LPS-induced NFκB-p65 and p38 MAPK expression in the brain and spleen were inhibited at 8 and 24 h post-LPS. These findings extend our understanding of the anti-inflammatory effects of β-FNA and warrant further investigation into its therapeutic potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-358
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Chemokine
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Neuroprotective
  • Nuclear factor-κB
  • Opioid
  • β-Funaltrexamine


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