Opioid peptides and receptors in joint tissues: Study in the rat
Bergstrom J, Ahmed M, Li J, Ahmad T, Kreicbergs A, Spetea M.
Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery,
Section of Orthopaedics, Karolinska Institutet,
Orthopaedic Research Laboratory,
Karolinska Hospital, S-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.
J Orthop Res. 2006 Apr 28;


Using immunohistochemical and biochemical techniques, the occurrence of endogenous opioid peptides and their receptors in normal rat bone and joint tissues was investigated. Opioid receptors were detected, quantified, and characterized in homogenates from capsule/synovium and periosteum using radioligand binding assays. Receptor binding of the nonselective opioid [(3)H]naloxone to tissue homogenates was stereospecific and saturable, showing similar characteristics to that of brain tissue, although with lower binding capacities. By immunohistochemistry, the neuronal occurrence of four different enkephalins was demonstrated in synovium, bone marrow, periosteum, and juxta-articular bone, whereas no neuronal dynorphin immunoreactivity was detected. Double-staining studies disclosed that enkephalins coexisted with substance P in primary afferent fibers. The applied techniques can be used to assess changes in the distribution of endogenous opioids and their receptors in joint tissues in conditions associated with pain and inflammation. The endogenous opioid system now demonstrated might be targeted and exploited therapeutically to obtain peripheral control of symptoms in joint disorders
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