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Exp Brain Res. 1988;73(3):523-32.

Distribution of opiate receptors within visual structures of the cat brain.

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Department of Psychology, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912.


The distributions of mu, delta, and kappa opiate receptors within visual regions in the cat cortex, thalamus and midbrain were determined by in vitro autoradiography. The overall distribution of receptors was examined using [3H]-etorphine, a ligand that nonselectively labels all types of opiate receptors. [3H]-[D-Ala2, N-Me-Phe4,Gly(ol)5]-enkephalin (DAGO) was used to selectively label mu receptors, [3H]-[D-Pen2, 5]-enkephalin (DPDPE) for delta receptors, and [3H]-bremazocine for kappa receptors. Each of the areas examined showed clear opiate receptor binding with [3H]-etorphine and a differential distribution of mu, delta, and kappa receptors. Compared to other cortical regions, opiate binding in layers 3 and 4 of areas 17 and 18 was sparse. In the adjacent areas a more uniform distribution across layers was observed. The density of kappa opiate receptors was greater in cortex than in subcortical structures, whereas the reverse was the case for mu receptors. Nevertheless, all three types of opiate receptors were found in the ventral and dorsal subdivisions of the lateral geniculate (LGN), the pulvinar complex, and the suprageniculate nucleus. In the midbrain, the superficial layers of the superior colliculus were heavily labelled with the mu receptor ligand, and modestly with the kappa ligand. Compared with other midbrain and diencephalic areas, delta binding was low in the superior colliculus. These results suggest that the diverse effects of opiates on visual perception are mediated by the unique distributions of opiate receptor types throughout the visual areas in the brain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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