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Sci. Signal., 20 July 2010
Vol. 3, Issue 131, p. ra54
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2000807]


Increased Abundance of Opioid Receptor Heteromers After Chronic Morphine Administration

Achla Gupta1, Jan Mulder2, Ivone Gomes1, Raphael Rozenfeld1, Ittai Bushlin1, Edmund Ong3, Maribel Lim1, Emeline Maillet4, Mats Junek3, Catherine M. Cahill3, Tibor Harkany2, and Lakshmi A. Devi1,4*

1 Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.
2 European Neuroscience Institute at Aberdeen, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB252ZD, Scotland, UK.
3 Departments of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6.
4 Department of Neuroscience, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Abstract: The µ and {delta} types of opioid receptors form heteromers that exhibit pharmacological and functional properties distinct from those of homomeric receptors. To characterize these complexes in the brain, we generated antibodies that selectively recognize the µ-{delta} heteromer and blocked its in vitro signaling. With these antibodies, we showed that chronic, but not acute, morphine treatment caused an increase in the abundance of µ-{delta} heteromers in key areas of the central nervous system that are implicated in pain processing. Because of its distinct signaling properties, the µ-{delta} heteromer could be a therapeutic target in the treatment of chronic pain and addiction.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: lakshmi.devi{at}

Citation: A. Gupta, J. Mulder, I. Gomes, R. Rozenfeld, I. Bushlin, E. Ong, M. Lim, E. Maillet, M. Junek, C. M. Cahill, T. Harkany, L. A. Devi, Increased Abundance of Opioid Receptor Heteromers After Chronic Morphine Administration. Sci. Signal. 3, ra54 (2010).

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