Increasing biochemical evidence indicates that the wide spectrum of opiate pharmacological actions are mediated via heterogeneous classes of receptors. μ receptors have been identified as the high affinity sites where morphine-like opiates exert their analgesic effects. δ receptors have a somewhat different CNS distribution and have been identified as sites relatively selective for the naturally occuring enkephalins. Recent biochemical studies provide evidence for two additional classes of opiate receptor sites which were originally proposed on the basis of physiological studies. Ketocyclazocine-like opiates produce their unique ataxic and sedative effects via interaction with K receptors, and SKF-10,047 (N-allylnorcyclazocine) and related opiates produce stimulant and psychotomimetic effects via interactions with σ receptors. Many opiate drugs interact at multiple receptor sites. Thus, the constellation of neuropharmacological actions of a particular opioid ligand may reflect its various potencies at a combination of μ, δ, K, and σ receptors.
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