Opioids are currently the most powerful medications available for the treatment of
severe pain. Unfortunately, their strong analgesic capabilities are complicated by
the risk of tolerance, dependence, and abuse. Previous studies have modeled
drug addiction as a pathological form of experienced-based learning. Opioids
have profound effects on the stability of dendritic spines, which are believed to be
important in learning and memory. The internalization of opioid receptors following
ligand binding positively influence the stability of dendritic spines. The present
study examined whether different opioid receptor subtypes could be induced to
internalize following administration of a ‘non-internalizing’ agonist, such as
This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
Intracellular trafficking of opioid receptor subtypes in response to ligand activation.
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