Multiple brain sites sensitive to feeding stimulation by opioid agonists: a cannula-mapping study

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1988 Dec;31(4):825-32. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(88)90391-7.


Evidence suggests that brain opioid receptors of the mu, delta and kappa subtypes may be involved in the control of feeding behavior. However, limited information is available regarding the specific anatomical location of these feeding relevant opioid receptors. To address this problem, we microinjected three opioid agonists, morphine, (D-Ala2)-Met-enkephalinamide (DALA) or MR 2034, into one of 15 different brain areas and measured the subsequent feeding responses of satiated rats. Morphine (25 nmol) and DALA (6.8 nmol) both elicited strong feeding responses from the same five brain areas, namely, the paraventricular, dorsomedial and lateral hypothalamus, as well as from sites within the septum and amygdala. No other brain sites yielded significant responses to these opioid receptor agonists. In contrast to this anatomically specific pattern of effects, the opioid agonist MR 2034 (8.6 nmol) produced a feeding response which was generally smaller in magnitude and had little anatomical specificity. These findings suggest that opioid receptor systems for stimulating feeding exist in multiple discrete brain areas. Of the regions tested, specific sites within the hypothalamus, septum and amygdala are distinguished as being most sensitive to feeding stimulation by morphine and DALA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzomorphans / pharmacology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enkephalin, Methionine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Enkephalin, Methionine / pharmacology
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Male
  • Morphinans / pharmacology*
  • Morphine / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Time Factors


  • Benzomorphans
  • Morphinans
  • MR 2034
  • Enkephalin, Methionine
  • enkephalinamide-Met, Ala(2)-
  • Morphine