Opioid receptors on peripheral sensory axons

Richard E. Coggeshall, Shengtai Zhou, Susan M. Carlton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

204 Scopus citations


Opioid receptors have been demonstrated by light microscopic techniques in fine cutaneous nerves in naive animals. The present study extends these findings by showing that 29 and 38% of unmyelinated cutaneous sensory axons can be immunostained for μ- or δ-opioid receptors respectively. Local cutaneous injection of DAMGO, a μ-opioid ligand, ameliorates the nociceptive behaviors caused by local cutaneous injection of glutamate, a purely nociceptive chemical stimulus showing that the μ-receptors are functional. By contrast the δ-opioid ligand [2-D-penicillamine, 5-D- penicillamine]enkephalin (DPDPE) had no effect on these behaviors. These findings indicate a wider function for opioid receptors in naive animals than previously envisioned.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 1 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Endogenous analgesia
  • Glutamate
  • Opioid
  • Ultrastructure
  • Unmyelinated axon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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