Pertussis toxin blocks the outward currents evoked by opiate and alpha 2-agonists in locus coeruleus neurons

Brain Res. 1986 Apr 23;371(2):390-4. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(86)90382-3.


Pertussis toxin, a substance known to inactivate the inhibitory guanine nucleotide regulatory unit of adenylate cyclase, was injected into the lateral cerebral ventricle of rats; intracellular recordings were made from locus coeruleus neurons in brain slices 1-3 days later. Morphine (an opiate agonist) and clonidine (an alpha 2-agonist) produced the expected outward currents (and associated hyperpolarization and inhibition of firing) in controls whereas the effects of both agonists were blocked in animals pretreated with pertussis toxin. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that opiate and alpha 2-agonists may depress the firing of locus coeruleus neurons by inhibiting adenylate cyclase via a guanine nucleotide regulatory protein.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenylate Cyclase Toxin*
  • Animals
  • Clonidine / pharmacology*
  • Evoked Potentials / drug effects
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Locus Coeruleus / drug effects
  • Locus Coeruleus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Morphine / pharmacology*
  • Neural Inhibition / drug effects
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Pertussis Toxin*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Virulence Factors, Bordetella / pharmacology*


  • Adenylate Cyclase Toxin
  • Virulence Factors, Bordetella
  • Morphine
  • Pertussis Toxin
  • Clonidine