I would like to thank Dr. Carmen Sato-Bigbee, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, for kindly sharing this important study. The publication also references use of our Mu Opioid and Nociceptin/Orphanin FQ Receptor Antibodies: Andrew C. Eschenroeder, Allison A. Vestal-Laborde, Emilse S. Sanchez, Susan E. Robinson, Carmen Sato-Bigbee. Oligodendrocyte responses to buprenorphine uncover novel and opposing roles of μ-opioid- and nociceptin/orphanin FQ receptors in cell development: Implications for drug addiction treatment during pregnancy. Glia Volume 60, Issue 1, pages 125–136, January 2012.
Highlights: Oligodendrocytes are responsible for making myelin in the CNS. The authors have shown We have shown previously that rat brain myelination is significantly altered by buprenorphine, an opioid analogue currently used in clinical trials for managing pregnant opioid addicts. In this study, perinatal exposure to low levels of this drug induced accelerated and increased expression of myelin basic proteins (MBPs), cellular and myelin components that are markers of mature oligodendrocytes. In contrast, supra-therapeutic drug doses delayed MBP brain expression and resulted in a decreased number of myelinated axons. We have now found that this biphasic-dose response to buprenorphine can be attributed to the participation of both the l-opioid receptor (MOR) and the nociceptin/orphanin FQ receptor (NOP receptor) in the oligodendrocytes. This is the first study showing the potential role of the NOP receptor in myelination.
immunocytochemistry with O4 (green) together with anti-MOR or anti-NOP receptor antibodies (red). Scale bar: 20 lm. The western blot shows MOR and NOP receptor expression in two different samples of developing oligodendrocytes directly isolated from 9-day-old rat brains.
I will be posting future studies investigating the molecular mechanisms by which buprenorphine and methadone affect myelination and neuron-glial interactions. These should provide deeper understanding into these developmental processes and new and better strategies for the managing of both pregnant addicts and drug addiction in adolescence.
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