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

Effects of morphine administration and its withdrawal on rat brain aminopeptidase activities.

The endogenous opioid neuropeptide system seems to be involved in the neural processes which underlie drug addiction. Several studies have reported that the administration of morphine induces changes in the levels and/or activity of endogenous opioid peptides (enkephalin, dynorphin) and their precursors in specific brain regions of the adult CNS. The aim of this work was to study the effects of chronic morphine exposure and its withdrawal on certain aminopeptidases capable of degrading opioid peptides in brain areas including the amygdala, hypothalamus, hippocampus, striatum and brain cortices. In animals treated with morphine, aminopeptidase N presented higher enzyme activity levels in the striatum, the hypothalamus and the amygdala compared to control animals, although statistically significant differences were observed only in the case of the striatum. In addition, the activity of soluble puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase (PSA) was found to be higher in the frontal cortex of these rats. In contrast, rats experiencing withdrawal symptoms presented decreased levels of aminopeptidase activity in certain brain areas. Thus, the activity of aminopeptidase N in the hippocampus and soluble puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase in the frontal cortex were found to be lower in rats experiencing naloxone precipitated withdrawal symptoms, compared to the corresponding controls. Finally, the activity of the three studied aminopeptidases in vitro was unaltered by incubation with morphine, suggesting that the observed effects are not due to a direct action of this opioid upon the aminopeptidases. The results of the present report indicate that aminopeptidases may play an important role in the processes of tolerance and withdrawal associated with morphine administration.[1]


  1. Effects of morphine administration and its withdrawal on rat brain aminopeptidase activities. Irazusta, J., Larrinaga, G., Agirregoitia, N., Varona, A., Casis, L. Regul. Pept. (2003) [Pubmed]
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