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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Nov 2019 - 29 Nov 2019

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2019 Oct

Mol Neuropsychiatry



κ-Opioid Receptor Modulation of GABAergic Inputs onto Ventrolateral Periaqueductal Gray Dopamine Neurons.


The κ-opioid receptor (KOR) system has been implicated in the regulation of many behaviors including pain. While there are numerous studies suggesting KOR regulation of pain being mediated spinally, there have been reports of pain-like behaviors regulated by central KOR signaling. In particular, oxytocin-induced analgesia appears to be mediated by KOR receptors within the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (vlPAG). We recently found that activation of dopamine (DA) neurons within the vlPAG is antinociceptive. In this study, we sought to determine the impact of KOR signaling on -GABAergic inputs onto vlPAG DA neurons, and the mechanism through which KOR impacts these inputs. We found that activation of KOR reduced GABAergic transmission onto vlPAG DA neurons. In addition, our data suggest this effect is mediated presynaptically via the G protein βγ-subunit. They raise the possibility that KOR activation disinhibits -vlPAG DA neurons, which could lead to altered regulation of pain-related behaviors.