Evidence for intrinsic expression of enkephalin-like immunoreactivity and opioid binding sites in cat superior colliculus.

Article date: 1991/1/1

PubMed ID: 1922782

Journal name: Neuroscience (ISSN: 0306-4522)


We have investigated the cellular localization of opioid peptides and binding sites in the cat's superior colliculus by testing the effects of retinal deafferentation and intracollicular excitotoxin lesions on patterns of enkephalin-like immunostaining and opiate receptor ligand binding. In normal cats, enkephalin-like immunoreactivity marks a thin tier in the most dorsal stratum griseum superficiale, small neurons of the stratum griseum superficiale, and patches of fibers in the intermediate and deeper gray layers. Eliminating crossed retinotectal afferents by contralateral eye enucleation had little immediate effect on this pattern, although chronic eye enucleation from birth did reduce immunoreactivity in the superficial layers. By contrast, fiber-sparing destruction of collicular neurons by the excitotoxins N-methyl-D-aspartate and ibotenic acid virtually eliminated enkephalin-like immunoreactivity in the neuropil of the upper stratum griseum superficiale, presumably by killing enkephalinergic cells of the superficial layers. Such lesions did not eliminate the patches of enkephalin-like immunoreactivity in the deeper layers. In normal cats, opiate receptor ligand binding is dense in the stratum griseum superficiale, particularly in its upper tier, and moderately dense in the intermediate gray layer. Contralateral eye removal had no detectable effect on the binding pattern, but excitotoxin lesions of the colliculus dramatically reduced binding in both superficial and deep layers. Some ligand binding, including part of that in the upper stratum griseum superficiale, apparently survived such lesions. Similar effects were observed in the lateral geniculate nucleus: enucleation produced no change in binding, whereas excitotoxin lesions greatly reduced specific opiate binding. We conclude that in the superficial collicular layers, both enkephalin-like opioid peptides and their membrane receptors are largely expressed by neurons of intrinsic collicular origin. The close correspondence between the location of these intrinsic opioid elements and the tier of retinal afferents terminating in the upper stratum griseum superficiale further suggests that opiatergic interneurons may modulate retinotectal transmission postsynaptically.

Author List: Berson D M, Graybiel A M, Bowen W D, Thompson L A

Publication Types: Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

Substances mentioned in the article: Enkephalins; Neurotoxins;

Mesh terms: Animals; Autoradiography; Binding Sites; Cats; Enkephalins/metabolism; Eye Enucleation; Immunohistochemistry; Neurotoxins/pharmacology; Superior Colliculi/drug effects;

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