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The mode of action of enkephalins in the guinea pig myenteric plexus

Neuroscience Letters 10(3): 317-322

The mode of action of enkephalins in the guinea pig myenteric plexus

Intracellular recordings were made from ganglion cells of myenteric plexus of guinea pig ileum. Methionine-enkephalin and leucine-enkephalin activities on the nerve membrane were studied by adding them to the perfusing solution. Both opioid pentapeptides elicit concentration-dependent hyperpolarization of the membranes of neurons; met-enkephalin was about 2-4 times as potent as leu-enkephalin. The membrane hyperpolarization caused by enkephalins was reduced by the narcotic antagonists naloxone and naltrexone. The opiate-sensitive neurons may be the cholinergic efferents to the muscle layers. By hyperpolarizing these neurons, enkephalins may exert their inhibitory action. This may well explain why opiate analgesics reduce the output of acetylcholine and contractile response of this preparation when it is excited.

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Accession: 006719330

PMID: 19605300

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