Opioid use and withdrawal evokes behavioral adaptations such as drug seeking and anxiety, though the underlying neurocircuitry changes are unknown. The basolateral amygdala (BLA) regulates these behaviors through principal neuron activation. Excitatory BLA pyramidal neuron activity is controlled by feedforward inhibition provided, in part, by lateral paracapsular (LPC) GABAergic inhibitory neurons, residing along the BLA/external capsule border. LPC neurons express µ-opioid receptors (MORs) and are potential targets of opioids in the etiology of opioid-use disorders and anxiety-like behaviors. Here, we investigated the effects of opioid exposure on LPC neuron activity using immunohistochemical and electrophysiological approaches. We show that LPC neurons, and other nearby BLA GABA and non-GABA neurons, express MORs and δ-opioid receptors. Additionally, DAMGO, a selective MOR agonist, reduced GABA but not glutamate-mediated spontaneous postsynaptic currents in LPC neurons. Furthermore, in LPC neurons, abstinence from repeated morphine-exposure in vivo (10 mg/kg/day, 5 days, 2 days off) decrease the intrinsic membrane excitability, with a ~75% increase in afterhyperpolarization and ~40–50% enhanced adenylyl cyclase-dependent activity in LPC neurons. These data show that MORs in the BLA are a highly sensitive targets for opioid-induced inhibition and that repeated opioid exposure results in impaired LPC neuron excitability.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry