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Brain Res. 1989 Jul 10;491(2):227-42.

Dual opioid modulation of the action potential duration of mouse dorsal root ganglion neurons in culture.

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Department of Neuroscience Rose F. Kennedy Center for Research in Mental Retardation and Human Development, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY 10461.


Multiple modulatory effects of opioids on the duration of the calcium component of the action potential (APD) of dorsal-root ganglion (DRG) neurons of mouse spinal cord-ganglion explants were studied. The APD of DRG neuron perikarya has been previously shown to be shortened by exposure to high concentrations of opioids (ca. 0.1-1 microM) in about 1/2 of the cells tested. The present study demonstrates that in addition to these inhibitory modulatory effects of opioids, lower concentrations (1-10 nM) of present study demonstrates that in addition to these inhibitory modulatory effects of opioids, lower concentration (1-10 nM) of delta- mu, and kappa-opioid agonists elicit excitatory modulatory effects, i.e. prolongation of the APD, in about 2/3 of the sensory neurons tested. APD prolongation as well as shortening elicited by delta, mu, and kappa agonists were prevented by coperfusion with the opioid antagonists, naloxone or diprenorphine (10 nM). APD prolongation induced by the delta-agonist [D-Ala2-D-Leu5]enkephalin (DADLE) was prevented in the presence of multiple K+ channel blockers, whereas excitatory modulation by the specific kappa-agonist, U-50,488H was not attenuated under these conditions. After treatment of DRG neurons with pertussis toxin (1 micrograms/ml for several days) or forskolin (50 muM for less than 15 min), a much smaller fraction of cells showed opioid-induced APD shortening; moreover, a much larger fraction of cells showed opioid-induced APD prolongation, even when tested with high concentrations of DADLE (1-10 muM). These data indicate that opioid-induced APD prolongation is not mediated by pertussis toxin-sensitive G proteins (which have been shown to regulate opioid inhibitory effects) and suggest that elevation of cyclic AMP levels may enhance opioid excitatory responsiveness. Furthermore, our analyses indicate that mu-, delta- and kappa-subtypes of excitatory as well as inhibitory opioid receptors may be expressed on the same DRG neuron perikaryon under in vitro conditions. If dual opioid modulation of the APD of DRG perikarya also occurs in central DRG terminals this may play a significant role both in nociceptive signal transmission as well as tolerance to opioid analgesia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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