, Volume 66, Issue 21, pp 3505-3516
Date: 11 Sep 2009

δ-Opioid receptors protect from anoxic disruption of Na+ homeostasis via Na+ channel regulation

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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.

X. Kang and D. Chao have contributed equally.
The data of this manuscript were submitted on May 23, 2008 to The Beijing Joint Conference of Physiological Science 2008 and published in the format of abstract (Acta Physiologica Sinica 60: Supplement 1) and also presented at the Third Workshop on Scientific Approaches to Chinese Medicine in October 2008.