Mu and delta opioid receptors have been demonstrated to mediate supraspinal opioid antinociception. Whereas the recombinant inbred CXBK mouse is notably deficient in mu opioid receptor antinociception, binding density, and mRNA (MOR-1) levels, little is known about delta opioid receptor processes in this strain. The present study thus compared CXBK mice and their BALB/c strain progenitors with respect to delta opioid antinociception, whole-brain receptor binding levels, and mRNA (DOR-1) levels. Following intracerebroventricular injections of the selective delta1 and delta2 opioids DPDPE and [d-Ala2]deltorphin II, respectively, CXBK mice displayed relatively lower antinociception on the tail-flick test, resulting in significantly increased ED50 values for both agonists in this strain. Decreased whole-brain specific binding of [3H][d-Ala2]deltorphin II, but not [3H]DPDPE, was also observed in CXBK mice. Solution hybridization with a probe for the DOR-1 revealed increased transcript levels in the caudate-putamen, frontal cortex, and spinal cord of this strain. The present data demonstrate a deficiency in delta1 and delta2 opioid antinociception in CXBK mice concomitant with reductions in whole-brain delta2 receptor binding and regional increases in DOR-1. Whether these observations are causally related remains to be clarified.
Copyright 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.