Opioid, cannabinoid and vanilloid receptor localization on porcine cultured myenteric neurons

Anjali Kulkarni-Narla, David R. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Opioids and cannabinoids have profound inhibitory actions on intestinal motility which are mediated in part by their cognate receptors in the enteric nervous system. In the present study, we examined the expression of immunoreactivity for δ- and κ-opioid receptors, CB1-cannabinoid receptors and type 1 vanilloid receptors by immunocytochemistry and confocal laser scanning microscopy on ileal myenteric neurons, isolated from juvenile pigs, that were < 70 μm diameter in either axis and maintained for 1-2 weeks in primary culture. Immunoreactivities for δ-opioid and cannabinoid receptors were present in neurons immunoreactive for the cholinergic marker, choline acetyltransferase. Some neurons with δ-opioid receptor-like immunoreactivity were also immunoreactive for κ-opioid, cannabinoid or vanilloid receptors. These observations indicate that receptors for cannabinoids or vanilloids are co-localized in opioid receptor-expressing myenteric neurons which modulate intestinal sensorimotor function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-156
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 10 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr Robert P. Elde (Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota School of Medicine) for generously providing δ-OR and VR1 antisera and Dr Jean-Pierre Timmermans (Laboratory of Cell Biology and Histology, University of Antwerp, Belgium) for valuable advice. This study was funded in part by NIH/NIDA grant DA-10200. A.K.-N. was a postdoctoral fellow supported by NIH Psychoneuroimmunology Training grant T32–07239.


  • Enteric nervous system
  • Gut
  • Myenteric plexus
  • Pig
  • Receptors


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