Dynorphin inhibition of the neurotensin contractile activity on the myenteric plexus

J. P. Huidobro-Toro, Y. X. Zhu, N. M. Lee, H. H. Loh, E. L. Way

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Nanomolar concentrations of neurotensin caused a dose-dependent contraction of the longitudinal muscle layer of the guinea-pig ileum. The contractile activity of neurotensin was partially blocked by tetrodotoxin or atropine, indicating that a component of the neurotensin-mediated contraction is indirect in nature and likely involves the release of endogenous acetylcholine from nervous terminals in the myenteric plexus. Dynorphin and related peptide fragments also blocked in part the neurotensin contraction; the potency of this opioid peptide was about the same as that of atropine. Other peptides and alkaloids tested for ability to block the neurotensin contractures included the enkephalins, β-endorphin, normorphine and the ketocyclazocines; all these opioids inhibited in a dose-dependent fashion the neuronal component of the excitatory effect of neurotensin. The potency of these compounds to reduce the contractions of neurotensin showed good correlation with the potency of these agents to depress by 50% the electrically evoked neuromuscular twitches in the same tissue (r = 0.99); in these tests dynorphin was found to be the most potent of the endogenous opioid-like peptides. The dynorphin blockade was selective to the excitatory effect of neurotensin because the opioid peptide did not antagonize the contractile action of acetylcholine, histamine, substance P, angiotensin II, bradykinin, Ba++ or K+ ions. In addition, somatostatin, vasointestinal peptide, gastrin or adenosine did not modify the potency of neurotensin whereas thyrotropin releasing hormone and epinephrine caused a modest doubling of the neurotensin EC50. The inhibitory action of dynorphin was reduced in the presence of naloxone, suggesting that the interaction involved opiate receptors. Morphine tolerance was not extended to the inhibitory action of dynorphin as evidenced by the finding that the potency of dynorphin-(1-13) to block the neurotensin responses was increased after chronic morphine exposure. In contrast, the potency of dynorphin-(1-13) was significantly reduced in tissues rendered tolerant to the action of ketocyclazocine or ethylketocyclazocine, suggesting that the action of dynorphin could be partially mediated via occupation of K-opiate receptors. Thus, a cholinergic-neuronal component activated by neurotensin on the myenteric plexus appears to be under the inhibitory influence of opiate receptors, suggesting that dynorphin may play a role in the modulation of cholinergic synapses on the enteric nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-303
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1984


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