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J Neurosci. 1999 Mar 1;19(5):1804-13.

Cellular sites for dynorphin activation of kappa-opioid receptors in the rat nucleus accumbens shell.

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  • 1Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, Division of Neurobiology, Cornell University Medical College, New York, New York 10021, USA.

Abstract

The nucleus accumbens (Acb) is prominently involved in the aversive behavioral aspects of kappa-opioid receptor (KOR) agonists, including its endogenous ligand dynorphin (Dyn). We examined the ultrastructural immunoperoxidase localization of KOR and immunogold labeling of Dyn to determine the major cellular sites for KOR activation in this region. Of 851 KOR-labeled structures sampled from a total area of 10,457 microm2, 63% were small axons and morphologically heterogenous axon terminals, 31% of which apposed Dyn-labeled terminals or also contained Dyn. Sixty-eight percent of the KOR-containing axon terminals formed punctate-symmetric or appositional contacts with unlabeled dendrites and spines, many of which received convergent input from terminals that formed asymmetric synapses. Excitatory-type terminals that formed asymmetric synapses with dendritic spines comprised 21% of the KOR-immunoreactive profiles. Dendritic spines within the neuropil were the major nonaxonal structures that contained KOR immunoreactivity. These spines also received excitatory-type synapses from unlabeled terminals and were apposed by Dyn-containing terminals. These results provide ultrastructural evidence that in the Acb shell (AcbSh), KOR agonists play a primary role in regulating the presynaptic release of Dyn and other neuromodulators that influence the output of spiny neurons via changes in the presynaptic release of or the postsynaptic responses to excitatory amino acids. The cellular distribution of KOR complements those described previously for the reward-associated mu- and delta-opioid receptors in the Acb shell.

PMID:
10024364
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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