• Opioid peptides;
  • Adrenal medulla;
  • Chromaffin cells;
  • Coexistence;
  • Secretion

Abstract: Eighteen endogenous opioid peptides, all containing the séquence of either Met5- or Leu5-enkephalin, were tested for their ability to modify nicotine-induced secretion from bovine adrenal chromaffin cells. ATP released from suspensions of freshly isolated cells was measured with the luciferin-luciferase bioluminescence method as an index of secretion. None of the peptides affected 5 μM nicotine-induced ATP release at 10 nM. Three peptides inhibited secretion at 5 μM dynorphin,1-13, dynorphin1-9, and rimorphin inhibited by 65%, 37%, and 29% respectively. Use of peptidase inhibitors (bestatin, thiorphan, bacitracin, or 1,10-phenanthroline) did not result in any of the other peptides showing potent actions on the nicotinic response, although bestatin and thiorphan did enhance the inhibitory actions of dynorphin1-3 and dynorphin1-9 by 20–30%. Nicotine-induced secretion of endogenous catecholamincs from bovine chromaffin cells cultured for 3 days was also studied to assess any selective actions of the peptides on adrenaline or noradrenaline cell types. Dynorphin1-13 was 1,000-fold more potent than Leu5-enkephalin at inhibiting endogenous catecholamine secretion. Dynorphin1-13 was slightly more potent at inhibiting noradrenaline release than adrenaline release whereas Leu5-enkephalin showed the opposite selectivity. The structure-activity relationships of opioid peptide actions on the chromaffin cell nicotinic response are discussed in relation to the properties of the adrenal opioid binding sites.