Pyramidal neurons in the lateral amygdala discharge trains of action potentials that show marked spike frequency adaptation, which is primarily mediated by activation of a slow calcium-activated potassium current. We show here that these neurons also express an alpha-dendrotoxin- and tityustoxin-Kalpha-sensitive voltage-dependent potassium current that plays a key role in the control of spike discharge frequency. This current is selectively targeted to the primary apical dendrite of these neurons. Activation of micro-opioid receptors by application of morphine or d-Ala(2)-N-Me-Phe(4)-Glycol(5)-enkephalin (DAMGO) potentiates spike frequency adaptation by enhancing the alpha-dendrotoxin-sensitive potassium current. The effects of micro-opioid agonists on spike frequency adaptation were blocked by inhibiting G-proteins with N-ethylmaleimide (NEM) and by blocking phospholipase A(2). Application of arachidonic acid mimicked the actions of DAMGO or morphine. These results show that micro-opioid receptor activation enhances spike frequency adaptation in lateral amygdala neurons by modulating a voltage-dependent potassium channel containing Kv1.2 subunits, through activation of the phospholipase A(2)-arachidonic acid-lipoxygenases cascade.