Differential roles of opioid receptors in respiration, respiratory disease, and opiate-induced respiratory depression

The American Review of Respiratory Disease
J E ShookE M Camporesi


In summary, these findings indicate the importance of designing future experiments that delineate between opioid and nonopioid forms of respiratory disease and dysfunction, and the need to identify means of diagnosing them in order to achieve successful recovery. Apparently there is great diversity between animal species in terms of contributions of endogenous opioids to tonic control of ventilation, and future work should strive to identify which species is most appropriate as a model of human ventilatory control and disease. Certain opioid receptor types appear to be linked to independent respiratory functions. For instance, mu receptors in the brain stem produce strong inhibitory actions on respiratory parameters, including RR, VT, VE, and CO2 sensitivity. These effects have been observed in vivo and by electrophysiologic recordings in vitro. Delta receptors may also exert some inhibitory effect on respiration, especially in the NTS. In the CNS, the ventral surfaces of the medulla and pons, especially the NTS and NA, seem to be important sites for opioid-induced inhibition of respiration, whereas the spinal cord probably is not involved in opioid-mediated ventilatory depression. Kappa receptors appear to be devoid of respira...Continue Reading


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