A reflex arising from contracting hindlimb muscle is responsible in part for the increases in arterial pressure and heart rate evoked by exercise. The afferent arm of this reflex comprises group III and IV afferents. δ-Opioid receptors are expressed predominately on the spinal endings of group III afferents, whereas μ-opioid receptors are expressed predominately on the spinal endings of group IV afferents. Using stimuli that activated group III afferents, namely static contraction, calcaneal tendon stretch, and lactic acid injection into the superficial epigastric artery, we tested the hypothesis that, in rats with either patent or ligated femoral arteries, activation of pre-and postsynaptic δ-opioid receptors in the dorsal horn attenuated pressor reflex responses to these stimuli. In rats with patent arteries or ligated femoral arteries, [D-Pen2,5]enkephalin (DPDPE), a δ-opioid agonist injected intrathecally (10 μg in 10 μl), significantly attenuated the pressor responses to contraction, stretch, and lactic acid (all P ± 0.05). Naltrindole, a δ-opioid receptor antagonist, prevented the attenuation. In contrast, DPDPE did not attenuate the pressor response to capsaicin injection into the superficial epigastric artery in either group of rats (both P-0.05). Intrathecal injection of saline (10 μl), the vehicle for DPDPE, had no effect on the pressor responses in either group of rats. We conclude that activation of spinal δ-opioid receptors attenuates reflexes evoked by group III afferents in both freely perfused and ligated rats.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology|
|State||Published - 2019|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)