Multiple opiate receptors: alcohol selectively inhibits binding to delta receptors

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Science  23 Oct 1981:
Vol. 214, Issue 4519, pp. 468-469
DOI: 10.1126/science.6270788


The addition of ethanol or other aliphatic alcohols to rat brain membranes strongly inhibits binding of enkephalins at concentrations at which little inhibition of opiate alkaloids is seen. Inhibition is reversible, and potency increases with chain length of the alcohol. The results suggest that delta receptors are considerably more sensitive to alcohols than mu receptors. This is the first demonstration of selective inhibition of one of the postulated classes of opiate receptors by a reagent that is not a ligand for the receptor.