PC2 Null Mice Show Up-Regulation of the Mu Opioid Receptor in Key Brain Regions Related to Nociceptive Information and Addictive Behaviors

Program: Abstracts - Orals, Featured Poster Presentations, and Posters
Session: MON 142-166-Hypothalamus-Pituitary Development & Biology
Monday, June 17, 2013: 1:45 PM-3:45 PM
Expo Halls ABC (Moscone Center)

Poster Board MON-152
Desean Lovell Lee*1, Kabir Lutfy2, Monica Gabriela Ferrini3 and Theodore C Friedman1
1Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA, 2Charles Drew University, 3Charles Drew University, Los Angeles, CA
Licit and illicit drug use and abuse are growing problems in the society. Drug addiction is a disease of the brain that results, in part, in the altered endogenous opioid system levels by exogenous agonists. Morphine is an exogenous opiate agonist that binds to the mu opioid receptor (MOR) and is addictive. Prohormone Convertase 2 (PC2) converts intermediate pro-hormones to active hormones in key brain regions. PC2 null mice show enhanced morphine-induced antinociception that might be due to low levels of endogenous opioids leading to up-regulation of the MOR. In these experiments, we assessed the level of mu opioid receptor in brain regions relevant to analgesia, reward and addictive behaviors in PC2 knock-out (KO) mice using immunohistochemistry. Our results showed an up-regulation of the MOR in Pere Periaqueductal Grey Area (PAG), Ventral  Tagmental Area (VTA), Lateral Hypothalamus (LH), Medial Hypothalamus (HT), Nucleus Accumbens (NA), and Somatosensorial Cortex (SSC) regions, with the highest up-regulation in the PAG and SSC regions respectfully (P>0.0005). We conclude that PC2 novelly regulates MOR expression in key brain areas related to pain and drug addiction and may play a role in determining the mechanism of transition from opioid drug use to abuse.

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Sources of Research Support: Research funded by  Minority Institutions' Drug Abuse Research Development Program (MIDARP) Grant.