mu-Opioid receptor mRNA expression in the rat CNS: comparison to mu-receptor binding

Brain Res. 1994 Apr 18;643(1-2):245-65. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(94)90031-0.


The distribution of cells expressing mu-receptor mRNA and mu-receptor binding sites were compared in brain and spinal cord tissue sections using a combination of in situ hybridization and receptor autoradiographic techniques. mu-Receptor mRNA was visualized with a 35S-labeled cRNA probe directed to transmembrane III-VI of the rat mu-receptor, while mu-receptor binding sites were labeled with the mu-selective ligand [3H]DAMGO. A high correspondence between the mu-receptor mRNA and receptor binding distributions was observed in the nucleus of the accessory olfactory bulb, anterior olfactory nuclei, striatal patches of the nucleus accumbens and caudate-putamen, endopiriform nucleus, claustrum, diagonal band of Broca, globus pallidus, ventral pallidum, bed nucleus of stria terminalis, most thalamic nuclei, medial and posteriocortical medial amygdala, lateral, dorsomedial, posterior and mammillary nuclei of the hypothalamus, presubiculum, subiculum, rostral interpeduncular nucleus, median raphe, inferior colliculus, parabrachial nucleus, locus coeruleus, central grey, nucleus ambiguus, nucleus of the solitary tract, nucleus gracilis, nucleus cuneatus, and the dorsal motor nucleus of vagus. Differences in mu-receptor mRNA and receptor binding distributions were observed in several regions, including the olfactory bulb, cortex, hippocampus, superior colliculus, spinal trigeminal nucleus, cochlear nucleus and spinal cord, and may be due to mu-receptor transport to presynaptic terminals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Diencephalon / metabolism
  • Enkephalin, Ala(2)-MePhe(4)-Gly(5)-
  • Enkephalins / metabolism*
  • Ganglia, Spinal / metabolism
  • Gene Expression*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Mesencephalon / metabolism
  • Organ Specificity
  • Pons / metabolism
  • RNA Probes
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism*
  • Telencephalon / metabolism
  • Tritium


  • Enkephalins
  • RNA Probes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu
  • Tritium
  • Enkephalin, Ala(2)-MePhe(4)-Gly(5)-