Molecular Adaptations in the Endogenous Opioid System in Human and Rodent Brain
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
The aims of the thesis were to examine i) whether the endogenous opioid system (EOS) is lateralized in human brain areas involved in processing of emotions and pain; ii) whether EOS responses to unilateral brain injury depend on side of lesion, and iii) whether in human alcoholics, this system is involved in molecular adaptations in brain areas relevant for cognitive control of addictive behavior and habit formation.
The main findings were that (1) opioid peptides but not opioid receptors and classic neurotransmitters are markedly lateralized in the anterior cingulate cortex involved in processing of positive and negative emotions and affective component of pain. The region-specific lateralization of neuronal networks expressing opioid peptides may underlie in part lateralization of higher functions in the human brain including emotions and pain. (2) Analysis of the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) demonstrated predominant alteration of dynorphin levels in the hippocampus ipsilateral to the injury, while injury to the right hemisphere affected dynorphin levels in the striatum and frontal cortex to a greater extent than that to the left hemisphere. Thus, trauma reveals a lateralization in the mechanisms mediating the response of dynorphin expressing neuronal networks in the brain. These networks may differentially mediate effects of left or right brain injury on lateralized brain functions. (3) In human alcoholics, the enkephalin and dynorphin systems were found to be downregulated in the caudate nucleus and / or putamen that may underlie in part changes in goal directed behavior and formation of a compulsive habit in alcoholics. In contrast to downregulation in these areas, PDYN mRNA and dynorphins in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, k-opioid receptor mRNA in orbitofrontal cortex, and dynorphins in hippocampus were upregulated in alcoholics. Activation of the k-opioid receptor by upregulated dynorphins may underlie in part neurocognitive dysfunctions relevant for addiction and disrupted inhibitory control.
We conclude that the EOS exhibits region-specific lateralization in human brain and brain-area specific lateralized response after unilateral TBI in mice; and that the EOS is involved in adaptive processes associated with specific aspects of alcohol dependence.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2013. , 58 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Pharmacy, ISSN 1651-6192 ; 174
Endogenous Opioid System, Dynorphins, Lateralization, Alcohol Dependence, Emotions, Traumatic Brain Injury, Anterior Cingulate Cortex, Dorsal Striatum
Research subject Neuroscience
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-205133ISBN: 978-91-554-8729-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-205133DiVA: diva2:640845
2013-09-30, C8:305, Husargatan 3, BMC, Uppsala University, Uppsala, 13:30 (English)
Hansson, Anita, Senior Scientist
Bakalkin, Georgy, Professor
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