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Peptides. 1989 May-Jun;10(3):499-522.

Discrete mapping of brain Mu and delta opioid receptors using selective peptides: quantitative autoradiography, species differences and comparison with kappa receptors.

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Parke-Davis Research Unit, Addenbrookes Hospital Site, Cambridge, UK.


The opioid peptides, [3H]DAGO and [3H]DPDPE, bound to rat and guinea pig brain homogenates with a high, nanomolar affinity and to a high density of mu and delta receptors, respectively. [3H]DAGO binding to mu receptors was competitively inhibited by unlabelled opioids with the following rank order of potency: DAGO greater than morphine greater than DADLE greater than naloxone greater than etorphine much greater than U50488 much greater than DPDPE. In contrast, [3H]DPDPE binding to delta receptors was inhibited by compounds with the following rank order of potency: DPDPE greater than DADLE greater than etorphine greater than dynorphin(1-8) greater than naloxone much greater than U50488 much greater than DAGO. These profiles were consistent with specific labelling of the mu and delta opioid receptors, respectively. In vitro autoradiographic techniques coupled with computer-assisted image analyses revealed a discrete but differential anatomical localization of mu and delta receptors in the rat and guinea pig brain. In general, mu and delta receptor density in the rat exceeded that in the guinea pig brain and differed markedly from that of kappa receptors in these species. However, while mu receptors were distributed throughout the brain with "hotspots" in the fore-, mid- and hindbrain of the two rodents, the delta sites were relatively diffusely distributed, and were mainly concentrated in the forebrain with particularly high levels within the olfactory bulb (OB), n. accumbens and striatum. Notable regions of high density of mu receptors in the rat and guinea pig brain were the accessory olfactory bulb, striatal "patches" and "streaks," amygdaloid nuclei, ventral hippocampal subiculum and dentate gyrus, numerous thalamic nuclei, geniculate bodies, central grey, superior and inferior colliculi, solitary and pontine nuclei and s. nigra. Tissues of high delta receptor concentration included, OB (external plexiform layer), striatum, n. accumbens, amygdala and cortex (layers I-II and V-VI). Delta receptors in the guinea pig were, in general, similarly distributed to the rat, but in contrast to the latter, the hindbrain regions such as the thalamus, geniculate bodies, central grey and superior and inferior colliculi of the guinea pig were apparently more enriched than the rat. These patterns of mu and delta site distribution differed dramatically from that of the kappa opioid sites in these species studied with the peptide [125I]dynorphin(1-8).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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