Introduction to the College on Problems of Drug Dependence Special Issue: Contemporary Advances in Opioid Neuropharmacology

Sharon L. Walsh, Ellen M. Unterwald, Sari Izenwasser

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Opioid receptors are critical therapeutic targets for medications development relevant to the treatment of drug dependence and pain. With recent advances in molecular neurobiology, it has become evident that the functional activity of opioid receptors, as ligand-regulated protein complexes, is modulated by multifarious intracellular and extracellular events, that there is genetic variation in coding for receptors, and that the activity of endogenous opioid systems may underlie actions common to other addictive disorders. This supplemental issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, arising from an invited symposium at the 71st Annual Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, provides a series of contemporary reviews focused on recent advances in opioid neuropharmacology. Each speaker provides herein an invited comprehensive review of the state of knowledge on a specific topic in opioid neuropharmacology. Evans and colleagues describe the multi-faceted control of the opioid G-protein coupled receptor as a dynamic " sensor" complex and identify novel targets for drug development. von Zastrow focuses on opioid receptor-mediated events regulated by endocytosis and membrane trafficking through the endocytic pathway and differential responses to opioid agonists. Blendy and colleague provide a review of human association studies on the functional relevance of the mu opioid receptor variant, A118G, and presents data from the A112G knock-in model, an analogous mouse variant to A118G. Finally, Maldonado and colleagues provide a broader systems review from genetic, pharmacologic and behavioral studies implicating the endogenous opioid systems as a substrate for the mediation of substance use disorders spanning pharmacological classes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-155
Number of pages3
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Abuse
  • Analgesia
  • Genetics
  • Molecular biology
  • Opioid
  • Pharmacology
  • Receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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