Opioid receptor types and subtypes: The δ receptor as a model

Paulette A. Zaki, Edward J. Bilsky, Todd W. Vanderah, Josephine Lai, Christopher J. Evans, Frank Porreca

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


Since the discovery of opioid receptors over two decades ago, an increasing body of work has emerged supporting the concept of multiple opioid receptors. Molecular cloning has identified three opioid receptor types - μ, δ, and κ - confirming pharmacological studies that previously postulated the existence of these three receptors. The cloned opioid receptors are highly homologous and belong to the family of seven-transmembrane, G protein-coupled receptors. With the development of novel opioid ligands, subtypes of the μ, δ, and κ receptors have been proposed, although the molecular basis of these subtypes has not been elucidated. In this review, we present the pharmacological data supporting the concept of multiple δ opioid receptor subtypes and offer hypothetical mechanisms which might generate these 'subtypes'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-401
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual review of pharmacology and toxicology
StatePublished - 1996


  • G protein-coupled receptor
  • opiate
  • receptor heterogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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