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We have shown that application of an inhibitor of the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS) effectively suppresses the visual responses of relay cells in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) of the anaesthetized paralysed cat. Such suppression seems to result from a specific reduction in transmission via N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors, since(More)
When we talk about drug addiction, we are really dealing with an extremely complex system in which there still remain many unknowns and where many empty spaces or missing links are still present. Recent studies have identified changes in the expression profiles of several specific miRNAs which affect the interactions between these molecules and their(More)
The difficulty of designing new analgesic drugs is evident in the biochemical maze that results when an opioid agonist binds to opioid receptors, triggering a complex cascade of intracellular mechanisms. In an effort to enhance understanding of the biochemical and pharmacological mechanisms that are responsible for the action of opioid drugs, we describe(More)
Characterization of a newly cloned proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene in the teleost zebrafish, Danio rerio, is reported. This gene is formed by three exons and two introns, and its complete cDNA codes for a polypeptide of 222 amino acids. Zebrafish proopiomelanocortin (zfPOMC) contains the consensus sequences for ACTH, gamma-LPH, beta-MSH and beta-endorphin(More)
The use of cocaine during pregnancy can affect the mother and indirectly might alter the development of the embryo/foetus. Accordingly, in the present work our aim was to study in vivo (in zebrafish embryos) the effects of cocaine on the expression of dopamine receptors and on miR-133b. These embryos were exposed to cocaine hydrochloride (HCl) at 5 hours(More)
Opioid receptors, besides mediating the effects of analgesic compounds, are involved in drug addiction. Although a large amount of work has been done studying these receptors in mammals, little information has been obtained from nonmammalian vertebrates. We have studied the regional distribution in the central nervous system (CNS) of the zebrafish of the(More)
The functional characterization of the mu opioid receptor from the zebrafish (zfMOR) is reported here. After transfection in HEK-293 cell line, using both peptidergic and nonpeptidergic opioid ligands in the competition and saturation-binding experiments, in addition to the functional assays of (35)S-GTPgammaS-binding assays and intracellular 3'-5'-cyclic(More)
The pharmacological profile of opioid-binding sites in zebrafish brain homogenates has been studied using radiolabeled binding techniques. The nonselective antagonist [(3)H]diprenorphine binds with high affinity (K(D) = 0.27 +/- 0.08 nM and a B(max) = 212 +/- 14.3 fmol/mg protein), displaying two different binding sites with affinities of K(D1) = 0.08 +/-(More)
Epigenetic changes such as microRNAs (miRs)/Ago2-induced gene silencing represent complex molecular signature that regulate cellular plasticity. Recent studies showed involvement of miRs and Ago2 in drug addiction. In this study, we show that changes in gene expression induced by morphine and morphine withdrawal occur with concomitant epigenetic(More)
It is well known that the response to painful stimuli varies between individuals and this could be consequence of individual differences to pain sensitivity that may be related to genetic factors. Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is one of the enzymes that metabolize catecholamine neurotransmitters. Differences in the activity of COMT influence the(More)