A surge in the non-medical use of prescription opioids developed over the ~2004-2012 interval in the US, this was followed by a rise in the use of heroin. In more recent years, starting around 2015 a large increase in the availability of potent, fentanyl-derivative drugs on the illicit market was observed.
The Taffe laboratory studies on opioids were initiated to determine the behavioral and neurological consequences of oxycodone use. Oxycodone, the active opioid in Oxycontin and Percoset. This work includes a major focus on the role of the endogenous opioid dynorphin and it's receptor, the kappa opioid receptor. In the past, the Lab has conducted research on potential therapy for oxycodone misuse which involved the development of anti-oxycodone vaccination strategies. More recently the lab has focused on putative "opioid-sparing" effects of cannabinoids by attempting to dissociate potential synergistic effects of cannabinoids from therapeutic-like effects.
More recent investigations have turned to the impact of heroin when delivered by vapor inhalation or injection.
Gutierrez, A., Creehan, K.M., Javadi-Paydar, M., Grant, Y. and Taffe, M.A. Effects of combined THC and heroin vapor inhalation in rats. Psychopharmacology, 2021, Jun 23:1-15. doi: 10.1007/s00213-021-05904-w. [PublisherSite][PubMed][AuthorAccessLink(free)]
Nguyen, J.D., Grant, Y. and Taffe, M.A. Paradoxical changes in brain reward status during oxycodone self-administration in a novel test of the negative reinforcement hypothesis., Brit J Pharmacol, 2021, May 4 . doi: 10.1111/bph.15520
Gutierrez, A., Creehan, K.M., and Taffe, M.A. A vapor exposure method for delivering heroin alters nociception, body temperature and spontaneous activity in female and male rats. J Neurosci Methods, 2021 Jan 159;108993. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2020.108993. (Epub 2020 Oct 29) [ Publisher Site ][ PubMed ]
Gutierrez, A., Nguyen, J.D., Creehan, K.M., and Taffe, M.A. Female rats self-administer heroin by vapor inhalation. Pharmacol Biochem Behav, Volume 199, December 2020, 173061, doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2020.173061. [ Publisher Site ][ PubMed ]
Nguyen, J.D., Creehan, K.M., Kerr, T.M. and Taffe, M.A. Lasting effects of repeated Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) vapor inhalation during adolescence in male and female rats. Brit J Pharmacol, 2020, Jan, 177(1):188-203. [ Publisher Site ][ PubMed ]
Nguyen, J.D., Grant, Y., Creehan, K.M., Hwang, C.S., Vandewater, S.A., Janda, K.D., Cole, M. and Taffe, M.A. Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol Attenuates Oxycodone Self-Administration Under Extended Access Conditions, 2019, Neuropharmacology, 151:127-135. [ Publisher Site ][ PubMed ]
Nguyen*, J.D., Hwang*, C.S., Grant, Y., Janda, K.D.. and Taffe, M.A. Prophylactic vaccination protects against the development of oxycodone self-administration. Neuropharmacology, 2018, 138:292-303. [ Publisher Link ][ PubMed ]
[* authors contributed equally]
Nguyen, J.D., Grant, Y., Creehan, K.M., Hwang, C.S., Vandewater, S.A., Janda, K.D., Cole, M. and Taffe, M.A. Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol attenuates oxycodone self-administration under extended access conditions. bioRχiv, 2017, Posted December 23, 2017 doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/239038
Nguyen, J.D., Hwang, C.S., Grant, Y., Janda, K.D.. and Taffe, M.A. Prophylactic vaccination protects against the development of oxycodone addiction. bioRχiv, 2017, Posted October 27, 2017 doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/210369 [Accepted for publication 06/21/18; Neuropharmacology]
Nguyen, J.D., Kirson, D., Steinman, M.Q., Patel, R., Khom, S., Varodayan, F.P., Hedges, D.M., Oleata, C.S., Grant, Y., Roberto, M. and Taffe, M.A.Withdrawal-induced escalated oxycodone self-administration is mediated by kappa opioid receptor function. bioRχiv, 2017, Posted August 18, 2017 doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/177899
Opioid research in the Taffe Laboratory was supported by USPHS Grant R01 DA035281.