Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2014 Aug 1;307(3):C266-77. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00135.2014. Epub 2014 Jun 4.

Chronic opioids regulate KATP channel subunit Kir6.2 and carbonic anhydrase I and II expression in rat adrenal chromaffin cells via HIF-2α and protein kinase A.

Author information

Department of Biology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; and.
Division of Reproductive Biology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Division of Reproductive Biology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Biology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; and


At birth, asphyxial stressors such as hypoxia and hypercapnia are important physiological stimuli for adrenal catecholamine release that is critical for the proper transition to extrauterine life. We recently showed that chronic opioids blunt chemosensitivity of neonatal rat adrenomedullary chromaffin cells (AMCs) to hypoxia and hypercapnia. This blunting was attributable to increased ATP-sensitive K(+) (KATP) channel and decreased carbonic anhydrase (CA) I and II expression, respectively, and involved μ- and δ-opioid receptor signaling pathways. To address underlying molecular mechanisms, we first exposed an O2- and CO2-sensitive, immortalized rat chromaffin cell line (MAH cells) to combined μ {[d-Arg(2),Ly(4)]dermorphin-(1-4)-amide}- and δ ([d-Pen(2),5,P-Cl-Phe(4)]enkephalin)-opioid agonists (2 μM) for ∼7 days. Western blot and quantitative real-time PCR analysis revealed that chronic opioids increased KATP channel subunit Kir6.2 and decreased CAII expression; both effects were blocked by naloxone and were absent in hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-2α-deficient MAH cells. Chronic opioids also stimulated HIF-2α accumulation along a time course similar to Kir6.2. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays on opioid-treated cells revealed the binding of HIF-2α to a hypoxia response element in the promoter region of the Kir6.2 gene. The opioid-induced regulation of Kir6.2 and CAII was dependent on protein kinase A, but not protein kinase C or calmodulin kinase, activity. Interestingly, a similar pattern of HIF-2α, Kir6.2, and CAII regulation (including downregulation of CAI) was replicated in chromaffin tissue obtained from rat pups born to dams exposed to morphine throughout gestation. Collectively, these data reveal novel mechanisms by which chronic opioids blunt asphyxial chemosensitivity in AMCs, thereby contributing to abnormal arousal responses in the offspring of opiate-addicted mothers.


adenosine 5′-triphosphate-sensitive potassium channels; carbonic anhydrase; hypoxia-inducible factor-2α; opioid

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication type, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication type

MeSH terms


Grant support

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center