Student Author(s)

Cristina M. Velazquez-Marrero

Academic Program


UMMS Affiliation

Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems; Program in Neuroscience

Publication Date


Document Type



Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience | Neuroscience and Neurobiology


mu-Opioid agonists have no effect on calcium currents (I(Ca)) in neurohypophysial terminals when recorded using the classic whole-cell patch-clamp configuration. However, mu-opioid receptor (MOR)-mediated inhibition of I(Ca) is reliably demonstrated using the perforated-patch configuration. This suggests that the MOR-signaling pathway is sensitive to intraterminal dialysis and is therefore mediated by a readily diffusible second messenger. Using the perforated patch-clamp technique and ratio-calcium-imaging methods, we describe a diffusible second messenger pathway stimulated by the MOR that inhibits voltage-gated calcium channels in isolated terminals from the rat neurohypophysis (NH). Our results show a rise in basal intracellular calcium ([Ca(2+)]i) in response to application of [D-Ala(2)-N-Me-Phe(4),Gly5-ol]-Enkephalin (DAMGO), a MOR agonist, that is blocked by D-Phe-Cys-Tyr-D-Trp-Orn-Thr-Pen-Thr-NH2 (CTOP), a MOR antagonist. Buffering DAMGO-induced changes in [Ca(2+)]i with BAPTA-AM completely blocked the inhibition of both I(Ca) and high-K(+)-induced rises in [Ca(2+)]i due to MOR activation, but had no effect on kappa-opioid receptor (KOR)-mediated inhibition. Given the presence of ryanodine-sensitive stores in isolated terminals, we tested 8-bromo-cyclic adenosine diphosphate ribose (8Br-cADPr), a competitive inhibitor of cyclic ADP-ribose (cADPr) signaling that partially relieves DAMGO inhibition of I(Ca) and completely relieves MOR-mediated inhibition of high-K(+)-induced and DAMGO-induced rises in [Ca(2+)]i. Furthermore, antagonist concentrations of ryanodine completely blocked MOR-induced increases in [Ca(2+)]i and inhibition of I(Ca) and high-K(+)-induced rises in [Ca(2+)]i while not affecting KOR-mediated inhibition. Antagonist concentrations of ryanodine also blocked MOR-mediated inhibition of electrically-evoked increases in capacitance. These results strongly suggest that a key diffusible second messenger mediating the MOR-signaling pathway in NH terminals is [Ca(2+)]i released by cADPr from ryanodine-sensitive stores.

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DOI of Published Version



J Neurosci. 2014 Mar 5;34(10):3733-42. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2505-13.2014. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

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PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.