To examine the involvement of opioid receptors in inflammatory pain, we compared Complete Freund's Adjuvant-induced hyperalgesia in mice lacking mu, delta or kappa receptors under the same experimental conditions. Mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia were measured using von Frey filaments and the plantar test, respectively. All three receptor-knockout mice, as well as wild-type animals, developed inflammatory hyperalgesia following Complete Freund's Adjuvant administration. Mu-receptor mutants showed similar hyperalgesia to wild-types in the two tests. Kappa-receptor mutants exhibited enhanced mechanical allodynia compared with wild-type mice but similar thermal hyperalgesia. In contrast, mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia were both markedly augmented in delta-receptor mutants, indicating a role for an endogenous delta-receptor tone in the control of inflammatory pain. Treatment with the delta-selective agonist SNC80 produced antihyperalgesia, and this effect was abolished in the delta-receptor knockout mice. Altogether, these data demonstrate that delta receptors inhibit inflammatory pain when activated either endogenously or exogenously. We have previously shown enhanced neuropathic pain in delta-receptor knockout mice. The delta receptor definitely represents a promising target for treating chronic pain conditions.