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J Neurosci. 1999 Jan 1;19(1):503-10.

Identification of the receptor subtype involved in the analgesic effect of neurotensin.

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Unité de Neuropsychopharmacologie Expérimentale, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), 76803 Saint Etienne du Rouvray, France.


The neuropeptide neurotensin (NT) elicits hypothermic and naloxone-insensitive analgesic responses after brain injection. Recent pharmacological evidence obtained with NT agonists and antagonists suggests that these effects are mediated by a receptor distinct from the initially cloned high-affinity NT receptor (NTR1). The recent cloning of a second NT receptor (NTR2) prompted us to evaluate its role in NT-induced analgesia. Intracerebroventricular injections in mice of two different antisense oligodeoxynucleotides from the NTR2 markedly decreased NTR2 mRNA and protein and reduced NT-induced analgesia. This effect was specific, because NTR1 levels were unaffected, and sense or scramble oligodeoxynucleotides had no effect. Structure-activity studies revealed a close correlation between the analgesic potency of NT analogs and their affinity for the NTR2 and disclosed potent and selective agonists of this receptor. These data confirm that NTR1 is involved in the NT-elicited turning behavior and demonstrate that the NTR2 mediates NT-induced analgesia.

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