Dynorphin uses a non-opioid mechanism to potentiate N-methyl-D- aspartate currents in single rat periaqueductal gray neurons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Scopus citations


The interaction of the endogenous K-opioid, dynorphin, with N-methyl-D- aspartate (NMDA) receptors was studied in single periaqueductal gray (PAG) cells using the whole cell patch recording technique. We have found that dynorphin A (1-17) rapidly and reversibly potentiates NMDA-activated currents in a subpopulation of PAG cells. The potentiation cannot be blocked by the non-specific opioid antagonist, naloxone, nor can it be reversed by the specific κ-opioid antagonist, nor-BNI. In addition, the non-opioid fragment of dynorphin, dynorphin A (2-17), is effective in potentiating NMDA currents, while the specific κ-opioid, U50,488, cannot mimic the action of dynorphin A (1-17). The non-opioid dynorphin action and the rapid onset and recovery of the potentiation are consistent with the idea that dynorphin interacts directly with NMDA receptors in PAG cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-118
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - May 15 1998



  • Dynorphin
  • Excitatory opioid action
  • N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptor
  • Non-opioid
  • Periaqueductal gray
  • κ-Opioid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this