Chronic treatment of Sprague-Dawley rats with [d-Ala2,d-Leu5]enkephalin (DADLE) resulted in the development of tolerance to the antinociceptive effect of this opioid peptide. When opioid receptor binding was measured, time-dependent decreases in [3H]diprenorphine binding to the P2 membranes prepared from the cortex, midbrain and striatum were observed. Scatchard analysis of the saturation binding data revealed a decrease in Bmax values and no change in the Kd values of [3H]diprenorphine binding to these brain regions, indicative of down-regulation of the receptor. This reduction in the opioid receptor binding activities could be demonstrated to be due to the DADLE effect on the δ-opioid receptors in these brain regions. When [3H]DADLE binding was carried out in the presence of morphiceptin, a significant reduction in the δ-opioid receptor binding was observed in all brain areas tested. μ-Opioid receptor binding decrease was observed only in the striatum after 5 days of DADLE treatment. Additionally, the onset of δ-opioid receptor decrease in the midbrain area was rapid, within 6 h of the initiation of the chronic DADLE treatment. Thus, analogous to previous observations in which chronic etorphine treatment preferentially reduced μ-opioid receptor binding, chronic DADLE treatment preferentially reduced δ-opioid receptor binding activity.
- Brain opioid receptor