Opiate receptor binding affected differentially by opiates and opioid peptides

Eur J Pharmacol. 1979 Apr 1;55(1):11-8. doi: 10.1016/0014-2999(79)90142-0.


The potencies of various opiates in displacing several 3H-opiate ligands' binding to rat membranes vary depending on the nature of the ligand. Whereas opiate antagonists, as well as the opioid peptides and some agonists (etorphine, levorphanol and phenazocine) display similar affinities in displacing either 3H-opiate or 3H-methionine enkephalin binding, other agonists (such as morphine and oxymorphone) are considerably (20-50 times) weaker in displacing 3H-enkephalin than 3H-dihydromorphine binding. These agonists also compete for 3H-enkephalin binding with shallow displacement curves, and are greatly weakened in displacing 3H-naloxone binding in the presence of sodium. These agonists differ from the other opiate classes by possessing a relatively hydrophilic component in their C-ring moieties which may provide a basis for the differential interactions of drugs with the opiate receptor.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Endorphins / pharmacology*
  • Enkephalins / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Membranes / metabolism
  • Narcotics / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Opioid / drug effects
  • Receptors, Opioid / metabolism*


  • Endorphins
  • Enkephalins
  • Narcotics
  • Receptors, Opioid