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

Opioid peptide modulation of Ca(2+)-dependent K+ and voltage-activated Ca2+ currents in bovine adrenal chromaffin cells.

Opioid peptides are abundantly expressed in the adrenal medulla, and there is evidence that they may be released presynaptically or as medullary paracrine agents. To assess the physiological relevance of these observations, we investigated opioid effects on ionic currents from cultured bovine adrenal chromaffin cells. Under whole-cell path-clamp conditions, opioid peptides, acting via a mu-type opioid receptor, strongly potentiated the large conductance Ca(2+)-dependent K+ (BK) channel current. Opioids also inhibited voltage-activated Ca2+ currents. Application of opioid peptides to the extracellular face of outside-out patches also increased opening activity of single BK channels, suggestive of tight receptor-channel coupling. This potentiating effect on BK current, combined with the inhibition of Ca2+ current, indicates that opioids may have an inhibitory influence on secretory activity of the adrenal medulla. The widespread distribution of the BK channel class suggests that the significance of its modulation by opioids could also extend beyond the adrenal gland.[1]


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