Tally M Largent-Milnes

Tally M Largent-Milnes

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

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.
Vanderah, T. W., Largent-Milnes, T., Lai, J., Porreca, F., Houghten, R. A., Menzaghi, F., Wisniewski, K., Stalewski, J., Sueiras-Diaz, J., Galyean, R., Schteingart, C., Junien, J. L., Trojnar, J., & Rivière, P. J. (2008). Novel D-amino acid tetrapeptides produce potent antinociception by selectively acting at peripheral kappa-opioid receptors. European journal of pharmacology, 583(1), 62-72.

Kappa-(kappa) opioid receptors are widely distributed in the periphery and activation results in antinociception; however supraspinal acting kappa-agonists result in unwanted side effects. Two novel, all d-amino acid, tetrapeptide kappa-opioid receptor agonists, FE 200665 and FE 200666, were identified and compared to brain penetrating (enadoline) and peripherally selective (asimadoline) kappa-agonists as potential analgesics lacking unwanted central nervous system (CNS) side effects. In vitro characterization was performed using radioligand binding and GTP gamma S binding. Antinociception was evaluated in both mice and rats. Rotarod tests were performed to determine motor impairment effects of the kappa-agonists. FE 200665 and FE 200666 showed high affinity for human kappa-opioid receptor 1 (Ki of 0.24 nM and 0.08 nM, respectively) and selectivity for human kappa-opioid receptor 1 (human kappa-opioid receptor 1/human mu-opioid receptor/human delta-opioid receptor selectivity ratios of 1/16,900/84,600 and 1/88,600/>1,250,000, respectively). Both compounds demonstrated agonist activity in the human kappa-opioid receptor 1 [35S]GTP gamma S binding assay (EC50 of 0.08 nM and 0.03 nM) and resulted in dose-related antinociception in the mouse writhing test (A50: 0.007 and 0.013 mg/kg, i.v., respectively). Markedly higher doses of FE 200665 and FE 200666 were required to induce centrally-mediated effects in the rotarod assay (548- and 182-fold higher doses, respectively), and antinociception determined in the mouse tail-flick assay (>1429- and 430-fold fold higher doses, respectively) after peripheral administration supporting a peripheral site of action. The potency ratios between central and peripheral activity suggest a therapeutic window significantly higher than previous kappa-agonists. Furthermore, FE 200665 has entered into clinical trials with great promise as a novel analgesic lacking unwanted side effects seen with current therapeutics.

Grenald, S. A., Young, M. A., Wang, Y., Ossipov, M. H., Ibrahim, M. M., Largent-Milnes, T. M., & Vanderah, T. W. (2016). Synergistic attenuation of chronic pain using mu opioid and cannabinoid receptor 2 agonists. Neuropharmacology, 116, 59-70.

The misuse of prescription opiates is on the rise with combination therapies (e.g. acetaminophen or NSAIDs) resulting in severe liver and kidney damage. In recent years, cannabinoid receptors have been identified as potential modulators of pain and rewarding behaviors associated with cocaine, nicotine and ethanol in preclinical models. Yet, few studies have identified whether mu opioid agonists and CB2 agonists act synergistically to inhibit chronic pain while reducing unwanted side effects including reward liability. We determined if analgesic synergy exists between the mu-opioid agonist morphine and the selective CB2 agonist, JWH015, in rodent models of acute and chronic inflammatory, post-operative, and neuropathic pain using isobolographic analysis. We also investigated if the MOR-CB2 agonist combination decreased morphine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) and slowing of gastrointestinal transit. Co-administration of morphine with JWH015 synergistically inhibited preclinical inflammatory, post-operative and neuropathic-pain in a dose- and time-dependent manner; no synergy was observed for nociceptive pain. Opioid-induced side effects of impaired gastrointestinal transit and CPP were significantly reduced in the presence of JWH015. Here we show that MOR + CB2 agonism results in a significant synergistic inhibition of preclinical pain while significantly reducing opioid-induced unwanted side effects. The opioid sparing effect of CB2 receptor agonism strongly supports the advancement of a MOR-CB2 agonist combinatorial pain therapy for clinical trials.