Opioid and Hedgehog signalling pathways converge to modulate OA

As one of the four main opioid receptor subtypes, κ-opioid receptor (KOR) is involved in pain processing, consciousness and addiction. However, unlike other opioid receptors, KOR is also expressed by pre-chondrocytes and seems to be involved in preventing cartilage degeneration and osteoarthritis (OA).

“Our study defines a novel molecular mechanism for the role of the KOR in articular cartilage homeostasis and disease, providing a unifying mechanistic basis for the overlap in processes and pathologies that involve opioid and Hedgehog signalling,” concludes first author Alexander Weber.

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