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Comparison of opioid receptor binding in horse, guinea pig, and rat
Are there differences in the opioid receptors in the cerebral cortex and cerebellum of horse, rat, and guinea pig? A very interesting question! In this study, the density and binding characteristics of opioid receptor subtypes in these species were compared. Horses show more ì-receptors in the cerebral cortex but nobody knows the significance of this finding.

Whole brains were obtained from four neurologically normal adult horses during necropsy. Rat and guinea pig brains were obtained commercially.

The cerebellum and cerebral cortex were dissected from each brain, and tissue homogenates prepared. A radioligand binding technique with the highly selective ligands [3H]-DAMGO, [3H]-U69593, and [3H]-DPDPE was used to identify the mu- (ì), kappa- (ê) and delta- (ä) opioid receptors, respectively.

Competitive binding assays were performed with these ligands and varying concentrations of one of multiple unlabeled ligands.

Results: While there were marked species differences in relative densities of opioid receptors, all radioligands interacted with their binding sites with high, nanomolar affinity in both the cerebral cortex and cerebellum.

In the horse cerebral cortex, the percentages of total opioid binding sites for the ì-, ê- and ä-receptors were 71%, 14% and 15%, respectively. In the rat and guinea pig cerebral cortex, the corresponding values were 56% ì-, 4% ê- and 40% ä-receptors, and 25% ì-, 37% ê- and 38% ä-receptors, respectively. In horse and guinea pig cerebellum, the binding was 37% ì-, 59% ê- and 4% ä-receptors, and 15% ì-, 76% ê- and 10% ä-receptors, respectively.

For competitive analysis, all competitors of the ì-, ê- and ä-receptors completely displaced [3H]-DAMGO, [3H]-U69593, and [3H]-DPDPE and had inhibitory constants in the nanomolar range.

Conclusion and clinical relevance: Horses used in this study had a greater density of ì-receptors in the cerebral cortex compared with rats and guinea pigs but without further characterization of the functional role of these receptors it is impossible to determine the clinical significance of these data.



Source: Sara M Thomasy, Benjamin C Moeller, Scott D Stanley (2007): Comparison of opioid receptor binding in horse, guinea pig, and rat cerebral cortex and cerebellum. In: Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia 34 (5), 351¬Ė358.



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EQUINE

Trema micrantha-associated neurotoxicosis
Trema micrantha is a tree widely distributed throughout the Americas. The tree produces highly palatable leaves that have been associated with natural poisoning in goats, sheep and horses, in which hepatic necrosis and hepatic encephalopathy have been observed.This retrospective case series describes malacia and haemorrhage in the central nervous system (CNS) due to T. micrantha consumption, with minimal to absent hepatic lesions.

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