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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Endomorphin-1: induction of motor behavior and lack of receptor desensitization.

The endomorphins are recently discovered endogenous agonists for the mu-opioid receptor (Zadina et al., 1997). Endomorphins produce analgesia; however, their role in other brain functions has not been elucidated. We have investigated the behavioral effects of endomorphin-1 in the globus pallidus, a brain region that is rich in mu-opioid receptors and involved in motor control. Bilateral administration of endomorphin-1 in the globus pallidus of rats induced orofacial dyskinesia. This effect was dose-dependent and at the highest dose tested (18 pmol per side) was sustained during the 60 min of observation, indicating that endomorphin-1 does not induce rapid desensitization of this motor response. In agreement with a lack of desensitization of mu-opioid receptors, 3 hr of continuous exposure of the cloned mu receptor to endomorphin-1 did not diminish the subsequent ability of the agonist to inhibit adenylate cyclase activity in cells expressing the cloned mu-opioid receptor. Confirming the involvement of mu-opioid receptors, the behavioral effect of endomorphin-1 in the globus pallidus was blocked by the opioid antagonist naloxone and the mu-selective peptide antagonist Cys(2)-Tyr(3)-Orn(5)-Pen(7) amide (CTOP). Furthermore, the selective mu receptor agonist [d-Ala(2)-N-Me-Phe(4)-Glycol(5)]-enkephalin (DAMGO) also stimulated orofacial dyskinesia when infused into the globus pallidus, albeit transiently. Our findings suggest that endogenous mu agonists may play a role in hyperkinetic movement disorders by inducing sustained activation of pallidal opioid receptors.[1]


  1. Endomorphin-1: induction of motor behavior and lack of receptor desensitization. Mehta, A., Bot, G., Reisine, T., Chesselet, M.F. J. Neurosci. (2001) [Pubmed]
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