Tally M Largent-Milnes

Tally M Largent-Milnes

Assistant Professor, BIO5 Institute
Assistant Professor, Pharmacology
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
(520) 626-6400

Research Interest

Research Interest
Dr. Tally Largent-Milnes Ph.D., is a Research Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Arizona. Dr. Largent-Milnes is a member of the International Association for the Study of Pain, the Society for Neuroscience, and the American Pain Society. Her major research focus is on trigeminal (Vc) synaptic physiology, neuropathic pain and rational design of multifunctional compounds to treat chronic pain. Dr. Largent-Milnes uses whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry, behavior, and pharmacology, to explore excitatory synaptic transmission between trigeminal afferents and nucleus caudalis (Vc) neurons as well as the adaptations that accompany certain pathologies/pharmacological interventions. Her work is critical to improve our understanding of the construction of the trigeminal system at the synaptic level, and will allow for the development of better therapeutics to treat select craniofacial pain disorders through her research.


Forte, B. L., Slosky, L. M., Zhang, H., Arnold, M. R., Staatz, W. D., Hay, M., Largent-Milnes, T. M., & Vanderah, T. W. (2016). Angiotensin-(1-7)/Mas receptor as an antinociceptive agent in cancer-induced bone pain. Pain, 157(12), 2709-2721.
BIO5 Collaborators
Meredith Hay, Tally M Largent-Milnes

Many cancerous solid tumors metastasize to the bone and induce pain (cancer-induced bone pain [CIBP]). Cancer-induced bone pain is often severe because of enhanced inflammation, rapid bone degradation, and disease progression. Opioids are prescribed to manage this pain, but they may enhance bone loss and increase tumor proliferation, further compromising patient quality of life. Angiotensin-(1-7) (Ang-(1-7)) binds and activates the Mas receptor (MasR). Angiotensin-(1-7)/MasR activation modulates inflammatory signaling after acute tissue insult, yet no studies have investigated whether Ang-(1-7)/MasR play a role in CIBP. We hypothesized that Ang-(1-7) inhibits CIBP by targeting MasR in a murine model of breast CIBP. 66.1 breast cancer cells were implanted into the femur of BALB/cAnNHsd mice as a model of CIBP. Spontaneous and evoked pain behaviors were assessed before and after acute and chronic administration of Ang-(1-7). Tissues were collected from animals for ex vivo analyses of MasR expression, tumor burden, and bone integrity. Cancer inoculation increased spontaneous pain behaviors by day 7 that were significantly reduced after a single injection of Ang-(1-7) and after sustained administration. Preadministration of A-779 a selective MasR antagonist prevented this reduction, whereas pretreatment with the AT2 antagonist had no effect; an AT1 antagonist enhanced the antinociceptive activity of Ang-(1-7) in CIBP. Repeated Ang-(1-7) administration did not significantly change tumor burden or bone remodeling. Data here suggest that Ang-(1-7)/MasR activation significantly attenuates CIBP, while lacking many side effects seen with opioids. Thus, Ang-(1-7) may be an alternative therapeutic strategy for the nearly 90% of patients with advanced-stage cancer who experience excruciating pain.

Francois-Moutal, L., Wang, Y., Moutal, A., Cottier, K. E., Melemedjian, O. K., Yang, X., Wang, Y., Ju, W., Largent-Milnes, T. M., Khanna, M., Vanderah, T. W., & Khanna, R. (2015). A membrane-delimited N-myristoylated CRMP2 peptide aptamer inhibits CaV2.2 trafficking and reverses inflammatory and postoperative pain behaviors. PAIN, 156(7), 1247-1264.
Moutal, A., Dustrude, E. T., Largent-Milnes, T. M., Vanderah, T. W., Khanna, M., & Khanna, R. (2017). Blocking CRMP2 SUMOylation reverses neuropathic pain. Molecular psychiatry.
Grenald, S. A., Doyle, T. M., Zhang, H., Slosky, L. M., Chen, Z., Largent-Milnes, T. M., Spiegel, S., Vanderah, T. W., & Salvemini, D. (2017). Targeting the S1P/S1PR1 axis mitigates cancer-induced bone pain and neuroinflammation. Pain, 158(9), 1733-1742.

Metastatic bone pain is the single most common form of cancer pain and persists as a result of peripheral and central inflammatory, as well as neuropathic mechanisms. Here, we provide the first characterization of sphingolipid metabolism alterations in the spinal cord occurring during cancer-induced bone pain (CIBP). Following femoral arthrotomy and syngenic tumor implantation in mice, ceramides decreased with corresponding increases in sphingosine and the bioactive sphingolipid metabolite, sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P). Intriguingly, de novo sphingolipid biosynthesis was increased as shown by the elevations of dihydro-ceramides and dihydro-S1P. We next identified the S1P receptor subtype 1 (S1PR1) as a novel target for therapeutic intervention. Intrathecal or systemic administration of the competitive and functional S1PR1 antagonists, TASP0277308 and FTY720/Fingolimod, respectively, attenuated cancer-induced spontaneous flinching and guarding. Inhibiting CIBP by systemic delivery of FTY720 did not result in antinociceptive tolerance over 7 days. FTY720 administration enhanced IL-10 in the lumbar ipsilateral spinal cord of CIBP animals and intrathecal injection of an IL-10 neutralizing antibody mitigated the ability of systemic FTY720 to reverse CIBP. FTY720 treatment was not associated with alterations in bone metabolism in vivo. Studies here identify a novel mechanism to inhibit bone cancer pain by blocking the actions of the bioactive metabolites S1P and dihydro-S1P in lumbar spinal cord induced by bone cancer and support potential fast-track clinical application of the FDA-approved drug, FTY720, as a therapeutic avenue for CIBP.

Deekonda, S., Wugalter, L., Kulkarni, V., Rankin, D., Largent-Milnes, T. M., Davis, P., Bassirirad, N. M., Lai, J., Vanderah, T. W., Porreca, F., & Hruby, V. J. (2015). Discovery of 5-substituted tetrahydronaphthalen-2yl-methyl with N-phenyl-N-(piperidin-4-yl)propionamide derivatives as potent opioid receptor ligands. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry, 23(18), 6185-94.

A new series of novel opioid ligands have been designed and synthesized based on the 4-anilidopiperidine scaffold containing a 5-substituted tetrahydronaphthalen-2yl)methyl group with different N-phenyl-N-(piperidin-4-yl)propionamide derivatives to study the biological effects of these substituents on μ and δ opioid receptor interactions. Recently our group reported novel 4-anilidopiperidine analogues, in which several aromatic ring-contained amino acids were conjugated with N-phenyl-N-(piperidin-4-yl)propionamide and examined their biological activities at the μ and δ opioid receptors. In continuation of our efforts in these novel 4-anilidopiperidine analogues, we took a peptidomimetic approach in the present design, in which we substituted aromatic amino acids with tetrahydronaphthalen-2yl methyl moiety with amino, amide and hydroxyl substitutions at the 5th position. In in vitro assays these ligands, showed very good binding affinity and highly selective toward the μ opioid receptor. Among these, the lead ligand 20 showed excellent binding affinity (2 nM) and 5000 fold selectivity toward the μ opioid receptor, as well as functional selectivity in GPI assays (55.20 ± 4.30 nM) and weak or no agonist activities in MVD assays. Based on the in vitro bioassay results the lead compound 20 was chosen for in vivo assessment for efficacy in naïve rats after intrathecal administration. Compound 20 was not significantly effective in alleviating acute pain. This discrepancy between high in vitro binding affinity, moderate in vitro activity, and low in vivo activity may reflect differences in pharmacodynamics (i.e., engaging signaling pathways) or pharmacokinetics (i.e., metabolic stability). In sum, our data suggest that further optimization of this compound 20 is required to enhance in vivo activity.