δ-Opioid receptors protect from anoxic disruption of Na+ homeostasis via Na+ channel regulation
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- Kang, X., Chao, D., Gu, Q. et al. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2009) 66: 3505. doi:10.1007/s00018-009-0136-x
Hypoxic/ischemic disruption of ionic homeostasis is a critical trigger of neuronal injury/death in the brain. There is, however, no promising strategy against such pathophysiologic change to protect the brain from hypoxic/ischemic injury. Here, we present a novel finding that activation of δ-opioid receptors (DOR) reduced anoxic Na+ influx in the mouse cortex, which was completely blocked by DOR antagonism with naltrindole. Furthermore, we co-expressed DOR and Na+ channels in Xenopus oocytes and showed that DOR expression and activation indeed play an inhibitory role in Na+ channel regulation by decreasing the amplitude of sodium currents and increasing activation threshold of Na+ channels. Our results suggest that DOR protects from anoxic disruption of Na+ homeostasis via Na+ channel regulation. These data may potentially have significant impacts on understanding the intrinsic mechanism of neuronal responses to stress and provide clues for better solutions of hypoxic/ischemic encephalopathy, and for the exploration of acupuncture mechanism since acupuncture activates opioid system.