Many behavioral effects of opiate narcotics and peptides have been linked to effects on dopamine neurons originating in the substantia nigra pars compacta and ventral tegmental area. Selective brain lesions were combined with quantitative autoradiography to determine whether opiate receptors are on dopaminergic somata and/or processes in the substantia nigra pars compacta and ventral tegmental area. 6-Hydroxydopamine lesions that eliminated dopamine neurons produced little change in the pattern or density of ( 3 H)-naloxone binding in the substantia nigra pars compacta or ventral tegmental area. Radiofrequency lesions of the internal capsule or globus pallidus and kainic acid lesions of the striatum markedly decreased ( 3 H)-naloxone binding in the pars compacta and pars reticulata. These results are consistent with a dense distribution of opiate receptors on pallido-nigral and/or striato-nigral fibers and strengthen the likelihood that local effects of opiates on dopamine function in the nigrostriatal pathway are mediated indirectly by actions on nondopaminergic processes.
Brain Research Bulletin – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 1995
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