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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1984 Dec;231(3):512-7.

Mu opioid receptors participate in the excitatory effect of opiates in the hippocampal slice.


The effects of the opioid peptides morphiceptin and [N-MePhe3-D-Pro4]morphiceptin (PL017), both mu receptor agonists, were examined by electrophysiological techniques in the rat hippocampal slice and ligand binding techniques in hippocampal membrane preparations. The electrophysiological actions of the mu agonists were similar to those of the previously studied delta receptor agonist [D-Ala2, D-Leu5]enkephalin. Thus, for a given size field excitatory postsynaptic potential the amplitude of both population spike and intracellular excitatory postsynaptic potential was increased by morphiceptin. These effects were concentration dependent and reversed by naloxone. The EC50 for morphiceptin was 1.6 microM, which is consistent with the mu-selective binding properties of this peptide. Similar results were obtained with the more potent analog PL017. Morphiceptin and morphine had similar displacement profiles in competition experiments performed with hippocampal membranes and a variety of radioligands. In Tris buffer morphiceptin potently inhibited the binding of the mu receptor marker [125I]FK 33,824 but displayed the expected shallow displacement isotherm against binding of the delta receptor marker [125I][D-Ala2, D-Leu5]enkephalin. A significant interaction of either morphiceptin or morphine with kappa binding sites is improbable since neither agonist could fully displace binding of [3H]ethylketocyclazocine or [3H]diprenorphine. The potency of morphiceptin in displacing [3H]naloxone from mu binding sites was reduced by inclusion of 100 mM NaCl or 100 microM GTP in the assay. The dissociation constant of morphiceptin for mu binding sites in physiological saline was 0.78 microM, comparable to its EC50 determined in electrophysiological experiments. It appears, therefore, that the electrophysiological properties of opioid peptides in the hippocampal slice may be mediated by both mu and delta receptors.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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