Neuroanatomical localization of kappa 1 and kappa 2 opioid receptors in rat and guinea pig brain

Brain Res. 1991 Oct 18;562(1):57-65. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(91)91186-5.


The neuroanatomical localization of kappa opioid receptors in rat and guinea pig brain was determined by quantitative in vitro receptor autoradiography. Our study shows striking differences in kappa 1 and kappa 2 receptor distributions both between species and within each species. In the rat brain, kappa 1 sites (labeled by [3H]U-69,593) are of low density and confined to a small number of structures. These include the claustrum, endopiriform nucleus, caudate putamen, nucleus accumbens, midline nuclear group of the thalamus, superficial grey layer of the superior colliculus, and central grey. kappa 2 sites (labeled by [3H]ethylketocyclazocine or [3H]bremazocine under conditions in which mu, delta, and kappa 1 binding was suppressed) are more widely distributed throughout all levels of rat brain. kappa 2 sites occur at high density in the caudate putamen, nucleus accumbens, amygdala, thalamus, and interpeduncular nuclei. In guinea pig brain, kappa 1 sites predominate and are of high density in layers I and VI of the neocortex, claustrum, endopiriform nucleus, caudate putamen, nucleus accumbens, and molecular layer of the cerebellum. As in rat brain, kappa 2 sites in guinea pig are more uniformly and widely distributed throughout the brain than are kappa 1 sites. The highest density of kappa 2 sites is in the dorsal parabrachial nucleus, interpeduncular nuclei, mammillary nuclei, and posterior thalamic nuclei. Results from this study demonstrate important interspecies differences in the distribution of kappa 1 and kappa 2 opioid receptors.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Benzeneacetamides*
  • Benzomorphans / metabolism
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Ethylketocyclazocine / metabolism
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Male
  • Organ Specificity
  • Pyrrolidines / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Opioid / analysis*
  • Receptors, Opioid / metabolism
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa
  • Species Specificity
  • Tritium


  • Analgesics
  • Benzeneacetamides
  • Benzomorphans
  • Pyrrolidines
  • Receptors, Opioid
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa
  • Tritium
  • Ethylketocyclazocine
  • bremazocine
  • U 69593