Different brain areas mediate the analgesic and epileptic properties of enkephalin

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Science  21 Apr 1978:
Vol. 200, Issue 4339, pp. 335-337
DOI: 10.1126/science.204998


Single injections of 120 micrograms of methionine-enkephalin were made into various midbrain and forebrain structures in the rat. Analgesia was observed after injections into or near the ventral, caudal midbrain periaqueductal gray matter. Seizures and other pathological electroencephalogram (EEG) changes were seen with injections into or near the forebrain dorsomedial nucleus of the thalamus. No animals with midbrain injection sites showed EEG changes, and none with forebrain injection sites were analgesic. These data, taken together with other lines of evidence, suggest that enkephalin-induced analgesia and enkephalin-induced seizures are mediated by opiate receptors that are located in different brain areas and that are pharmacologically different.