Zhang, X (reprint author), Chinese Acad Sci, Shanghai Inst Biol Sci, Inst Neurosci, Key Lab Neurobiol, Shanghai 200031, Peoples R China,email@example.com
Changes in the number of receptors on the cell surface lead to modulations of physiological functions and pharmacological responses of neurons. Recent studies show that delta-opioid peptide (DOP) and mu-opioid peptide (MOP) receptors have distinct subcellular localizations in neurons. In nociceptive small neurons in the dorsal root ganglia, DOP receptors are sorted into neuropeptide-containing secretory vesicles, enabling the stimulus-induced cell surface expression of these receptors. MOP receptors are constitutively expressed on the cell surface. The physical interaction between DOP receptors and MOP receptors seems to be an important mechanism for the modulation of receptor functions. Experiments in animals show that MOP-receptor-mediated spinal analgesia is enhanced and morphine tolerance does not develop when DOP receptor functions are pharmacologically or genetically attenuated. Thus, the delivery and trafficking of DOP receptors are crucial processes that modulate opioid analgesia and tolerance.