Human placental villus tissue contains opioid receptors and peptides. Kappa opioid receptors (the only type present in this tissue) were purified with retention of their binding properties. The purified kappa receptor is a glycoprotein with an apparent molecular weight of 63,000. Two opioid receptor mediated functions were identified in trophoblast tissue, namely regulation of acetylcholine and hormonal (human chorionic gonadotrophin and human placental lactogen) release. Placental content of kappa receptors increases with gestational age. Term placental content of kappa receptors correlates with route of delivery (higher in those abdominally obtained). Opioid use and/or abuse during pregnancy affects placental receptor content at delivery, as well as its mediated functions. Opioid peptides identified in placental receptor content at delivery, methionine enkephalin, leucine enkephalin and dynorphins 1-8 and 1-13. Dynorphin 1-8 seem to be the predominant opioid peptide present in placental villus tissue.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)