Lack of evidence for epsilon-opioid receptors in the rat vas deferens

Eur J Pharmacol. 1988 Sep 23;154(3):237-45. doi: 10.1016/0014-2999(88)90197-5.


Experiments were performed to test the hypothesis that the field-stimulated rat vas deferens preparation contains opioid receptors, other than of mu-type, which mediate part of the inhibitory effect of beta-endorphin. The Piebald Viral Glaxo strain of rats was used. The reported finding that delta-opioid receptors are present in Sprague-Dawley rat vas deferens, the effects of which are greatly enhanced in reduced calcium concentrations, could not be replicated in the rat strain used. Reducing the calcium concentration from 2.5 to 1.25 mM improved the response to opioid drugs: all full agonists were about 10 times more potent, the partial agonist normorphine became able to inhibit the twitch completely, and morphine (which behaves as a competitive antagonist in 2.5 mM Ca2+) appeared to behave as a partial agonist. The pA2 values for antagonism by naloxone in low calcium of the mu-selective peptide [D-Ala2,MePhe4,Gly(ol)5]enkephalin and other mu- or delta-selective agonists were consistent with an action at mu-receptors only. The value for beta-endorphin was slightly but significantly lower. A similar small discrepancy was found with two other competitive antagonists. The discrepancy remained in the presence of the peptidase inhibitors thiorphan, bestatin and bacitracin. Responses to both [D-Ala2,MePhe4,Gly(ol)5]enkephalin and beta-endorphin were attenuated by the irreversible antagonists beta-funaltrexamine and beta-chlornaltrexamine.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Endorphins / pharmacology
  • Enkephalin, Ala(2)-MePhe(4)-Gly(5)-
  • Enkephalins / pharmacology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Naloxone / pharmacology
  • Naltrexone / analogs & derivatives
  • Naltrexone / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Opioid / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Opioid, delta
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa
  • Vas Deferens / drug effects
  • Vas Deferens / metabolism*
  • Vas Deferens / physiology


  • Endorphins
  • Enkephalins
  • Receptors, Opioid
  • Receptors, Opioid, delta
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa
  • epsilon receptor
  • Enkephalin, Ala(2)-MePhe(4)-Gly(5)-
  • Naloxone
  • Naltrexone
  • beta-funaltrexamine
  • Calcium