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Br J Pharmacol. 1999 Apr;126(7):1553-8.

Mu-opioid receptor modulation of calcium channel current in periaqueductal grey neurons from C57B16/J mice and mutant mice lacking MOR-1.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.


1. The actions of opioid receptor agonists on the calcium channel currents (IBa) of acutely dissociated periaqueductal grey (PAG) neurons from C57B16/J mice and mutant mice lacking the first exon of the mu-opioid receptor (MOR-1) were examined using whole cell patch clamp techniques. These effects were compared with the GABA(B)-receptor agonist baclofen. 2. The endogenous opioid agonist methionine-enkephalin (met-enkephalin, pEC50 6.8, maximum inhibition 40%), the putative endogenous mu-opioid agonist endomorphin-1 (pEC50 6.2, maximum inhibition 35%) and the mu-opioid selective agonist DAMGO (Tyr-D-Ala-Gly-N-Me-Phe-Gly-ol enkephalin, pEC50 6.9, maximum inhibition 40%) inhibited IBa in 70% of mouse PAG neurons. The inhibition of IBa by each agonist was completely prevented by the mu-receptor antagonist CTAP (D-Phe-Cys-Tyr-D-Trp-Arg-Thr-Pen-Thr-NH2). The delta-opioid receptor agonists DPDPE ([D-Pen2,5]enkephalin, 1 microM) and deltorphin II (1 microM), and the kappa-opioid receptor agonist U-69593 (1-10 microM), did not affect IBa in any cell tested. 3. The GABA(B) agonist baclofen inhibited IBa in all neurons (pEC50 5.9, maximum inhibition 42%). 4. In neurons from the MOR-1 deficient mice, the mu-opioid agonists met-enkephalin, DAMGO and endomorphin-1 did not inhibit IBa, whilst baclofen inhibited IBa in a manner indistinguishable from wild type mice. 5. A maximally effective concentration of endomorphin-1 (30 microM) partially (19%), but significantly (P<0.005), occluded the inhibition of IBa normally elicited by a maximally effective concentration of met-enkephalin (10 microM). 6. This study indicates that mu-opioid receptors, but not delta- or kappa-opioid receptors, modulate somatic calcium channel currents in mouse PAG neurons. The putative endogenous mu-agonist, endomorphin-1, was a partial agonist in mouse PAG neurons.

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