Chronic morphine administration is known to affect several neuropeptide systems, and this could contribute to the behavioral effects of opiates. To quantitate global changes in neuropeptide levels upon chronic morphine administration, we took advantage of a method that allows selective isolation of neuropeptides from brains of mice lacking carboxypeptidase E (Cpe fat/fat mice), a critical enzyme in the generation of many neuroendocrine peptides. We used a differential labeling procedure with stable isotopic tags and mass spectrometry to quantitate the relative changes in a number of hypothalamic and striatal peptides in Cpefat/fat mice chronically treated with morphine. A total of 27 distinct peptides were detected in hypothalamus and striatum. Of these, 27 were identified by mass spectrometry-based sequencing, 1 was tentatively identified by the mass and charge, and 9 were not identified. The identified peptides included fragments of proenkephalin, prothyrotropin-releasing hormone, secretogranin II, chromogranin A and B, protachykinin B, provasopressin, promelanin concentrating hormone, and pro-SAAS. Upon morphine administration, although the levels of most of the peptides were unaltered (within a factor of 1.3 to 0.7 compared with saline control), the levels of a small number of peptides did show consistent changes (increased or decreased by 1.3-fold or more) in hypothalamus and/or striatum. Taken together, these results provide interesting insights into endogenous neuropeptide systems that are modulated by morphine and suggest further experiments to link candidate peptides with long-term effects of morphine.
- Drug addiction
- Mass spectrometry
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience