It has long been speculated that feedback inhibition of endogenous opioid neurons may have a role in opiate tolerance and dependence. However, in studies in which opiates or opioid antagonists have been administered to animals, mixed results have been obtained on the ability of these drugs to regulate endogenous opioids. The present studies were undertaken to determine the effects of chronic administration of opiate drugs on opioid peptides. These studies focused on the regulation of prodynorphin (Prodyn) and proenkephalin (Proenk) peptides in striatal tissue. Morphine, whether administered by chronic infusion or repeated injection, was found to increase the concentration of Prodyn peptides in striatum. Increases were statistically significant in the sensorimotor dorsal striatum (caudate-putamen) but not in the limbic-motor ventral striatum (nucleus accumbens-olfactory tubercle). No changes in Prodyn peptides were found following chronic administration of the opioid antagonist naltrexone. No changes in the Proenk peptide MERGL were found following chronic treatment with morphine or naltrexone. These studies are consistent with the suggestion that Prodyn neurons may have a role in the consequences of long-term opiate administration.
Brain Research – Elsevier
Published: Nov 6, 1995
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