Opioid peptides reduce synaptic transmission in the nucleus accumbens

Neurosci Lett. 1992 Jan 6;134(2):223-8. doi: 10.1016/0304-3940(92)90522-9.


Behavioral studies implicate the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) as a brain area pivotal for the rewarding effects of opiates like heroine and morphine. Therefore, we studied the effect of a variety of opioids on membrane properties and responses to synaptic stimulation in a slice preparation of the NAcc using intracellular recording. Superfusion of opioid peptides did not affect the membrane potential or input resistance of NAcc neurons, but significantly reduced both depolarizing and hyperpolarizing synaptic potentials. Naloxone superfusion significantly reversed the depressant effects of the mu and delta receptor agonists (but not those of the kappa agonist) on synaptic transmission, suggesting involvement of opiate receptors. These results imply that the predominant effect of opiates in NAcc is a reduction of synaptic transmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3,4-Dichloro-N-methyl-N-(2-(1-pyrrolidinyl)-cyclohexyl)-benzeneacetamide, (trans)-Isomer
  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Analgesics / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Enkephalin, Ala(2)-MePhe(4)-Gly(5)-
  • Enkephalin, D-Penicillamine (2,5)-
  • Enkephalins / pharmacology*
  • Evoked Potentials / drug effects
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Naloxone / pharmacology*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / drug effects
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology*
  • Pyrrolidines / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Opioid / drug effects
  • Receptors, Opioid / physiology
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects*


  • Analgesics
  • Enkephalins
  • Pyrrolidines
  • Receptors, Opioid
  • Enkephalin, Ala(2)-MePhe(4)-Gly(5)-
  • Naloxone
  • 3,4-Dichloro-N-methyl-N-(2-(1-pyrrolidinyl)-cyclohexyl)-benzeneacetamide, (trans)-Isomer
  • Enkephalin, D-Penicillamine (2,5)-