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μ and κ opioid receptor distribution in the monogamous titi monkey (Callicebus cupreus): implications for social behavior and endocrine functioning.


The opioid system is involved in infant-mother bonds and adult-adult bonds in many species. We have previously shown that μ opioid receptors (MORs) and κ opioid receptors (KORs) are involved in regulating the adult attachment of the monogamous titi monkey. The present study sought to determine the distribution of MOR and KOR in the titi monkey brain using receptor autoradiography. We used [(3)H][D-Ala(2),N-Me-Phe(4),Gly(5)-ol]-enkephalin (DAMGO) to label MORs and [(3)H]U69,593 to label KORs. MOR binding was heterogeneous throughout the titi monkey brain. Specifically, MOR binding was observed in the cingulate gyrus (CG), striatum, septal regions, diagonal band, amygdala, hypothalamus, hippocampus, and thalamus. Binding was particularly dense in the septum, medial amygdala, paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, mediodorsal thalamus with moderate binding in the nucleus accumbens. Consistent with other primate species, MOR were also observed in "neurochemically unique domains of the accumbens and putamen" (NUDAPs). In general KOR binding was more homogenous. KORs were primarily found in the CG, striatum, amygdala and hippocampus. Dense KOR binding was observed in the claustrum. Relative MOR and KOR binding in the titi monkey striatum was similar to other humans and primates, but was much lower compared to rodents. Relative MOR binding in the titi monkey hypothalamus was much greater than that found in rodents. This study was the first to examine MOR and KOR binding in a monogamous primate. The location of these receptors gives insight into where ligands may be acting to regulate social behavior and endocrine function.

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