Molecular pharmacology of the opioid receptors

Pharmacol Ther. 1995;68(3):343-64. doi: 10.1016/0163-7258(95)02011-x.


Opioid receptors are the primary sites of actions of opiates and endogenous opioid peptides, which have a wide variety of pharmacological and physiological effects. The opioid receptors are classified into at least three subtypes, mu, delta, and kappa, and their cDNAs have been cloned. In this review, we describe the molecular cloning of opioid receptor gene family and studies of the structure-function relationships, modes of coupling to second messenger systems, pharmacological effects of antisense oligonucleotides, and anatomical distribution of opioid receptor mRNAs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Ganglia, Spinal / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis*
  • Receptors, Opioid / genetics*
  • Receptors, Opioid / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Opioid, delta / genetics
  • Receptors, Opioid, delta / metabolism
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa / genetics
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa / metabolism
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu / genetics
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu / metabolism
  • Second Messenger Systems / physiology
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Opioid
  • Receptors, Opioid, delta
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu