Opioid peptides serve as tonically active negative growth regulators in renewing and regenerating epithelia. To examine the involvement of opioids in renewal of the stratum corneum after tape stripping of tail skin, C57BL/6 J mice were given systemic injections of the potent opioid antagonist, naltrexone (NTX, 20 mg/kg i.p.) following injury. Blockade of opioidreceptor interaction by NTX for 4 h resulted in an elevation of 36-66% in basal cell DNA synthesis measured 24 h after injury. Injection of the endogenous opioid peptide, [Met5]-enkephalin (OGF, 10 mg/kg i.p.) 4 h before termination, suppressed radiolabelled thymidine incorporation in the basal cell layer by 37-46% at 24 h after wounding. The magnitude of the effects on DNA synthesis of OGF, but not NTX, depended on the timing of administration with respect to injury. OGF maximally depressed basal cell labelling (72%) when given 16 h after tape stripping. Concomitant administration of naloxone (10 mg/kg) with OGF blocked the inhibition of DNA synthesis; naloxone alone at the dosage utilized had no effect on cell labelling. Both OGF and its receptor, OGFr, were detected by immunocytochemistry in the basal and suprabasal cell layers, but not the cornified layer of tape stripped and uninjured tail skin. These results indicate: (a) a native opioid peptide and its receptor are expressed in epidermal cells of injured and uninjured mouse tail skin; (b) removal of the stratum corneum by tape stripping does not disrupt the function of the endogenous opioid growth system; (c) the proliferative response to wounding of the tail is tonically inhibited by the receptor-mediated action of an endogenous opioid peptide; and (d) DNA synthesis by basal cells can be elevated by disrupting opioid peptidereceptor interactions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology