Previous studies from this laboratory suggested that the periaqueductal gray (PAG), nucleus accumbens, and amygdala might take part in a serial, unidirectional mesolimbic loop to play their roles in pain modulation. It has been proposed that morphine injected into one of these nuclei would cause the release of opioid peptides in one nucleus after another. This working hypothesis was examined in the present study by perfusing simultaneously the PAG and the amygdala after microinjection of morphine into the N. accumbens. It was found that microinjection of morphine increased the content of immunoreactive enkephalins (ir-ENK) and immunoreactive β-endorphin (ir-β-EP) in the perfusate of the PAG and the amygdala. When the perfusion fluid contained 3 μM of naloxone, the increase of ir-ENK and ir-β-EP was reduced significantly. These results indicate that the three nuclei were not serially connected in a unidirectional loop.
- Nucleus accumbens
- Periaqueductal gray
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience