Immunofluorescent identification of a delta (S)-opioid receptor on primary afferent nerve terminals

Robert J. Dado, P. Y. Law, Horace H Loh, Robert Elde

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147 Scopus citations


Antisera were produced against synthetic peptides predicted from the recent cloning of a delta opioid receptor, DOR-1. Confocal miscroscopic examination of immuno-stained spinal cord sections revealed that DOR-1 immu-noreactive (-ir) nerve fibers and terminals form a moderately dense plexus within the superficial dorsal horn of rats and mice. These fibers decreased dramatically following dorsal rhizotomy and consistent with these observations a population of small diameter neurons in ganglia exhibited DOR-l-ir. DOR-l-ir ganglion neurons were also immunoreactive for calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), and their terminals in the spinal cord contained both CGRP- and DOR-l-ir, the latter presumably located as a 'presynaptic' receptor. Interestingly, terminals containing DOR-l-ir appeared to be closely apposed by fibers and terminals containing enkephalin (ENK)-ir, which suggests that ENK may be a physiologically relevant ligand for the receptor encoded by DOR-1, and that DOR-1 may act to regulate the release of transmitters from small diameter primary afferent neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-344
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1993


  • Dorsal root ganglion
  • Localization
  • Mouse
  • Opioid receptor
  • Rat
  • Spinal cord


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