Expression of OP4 (ORL1, NOP1) receptors in vascular endothelium

Filippo Granata, Rossella Luisa Potenza, Anna Fiori, Roberto Strom, Brunella Caronti, Paola Molinari, Sonia Donsante, Gennaro Citro, Luisa Iacovelli, Antonio De Blasi, Richard T. Ngomba, Guido Palladini, Francesca Passarelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Endothelial cells from rat brain microvessels, human aortic artery and human umbilical vein were examined, together with ex vivo rat brain capillaries and rat aortic ring sections, for the expression of opioid receptor-like OP-4 mRNA and protein. High levels of mRNA expression and an immunopositive reaction for the receptor protein were detected in the endothelial cells from primary and from established in vitro cultures, as well as in the intima of ex vivo rat aortic rings, where the signal was limited to the endothelial layer. Interaction of the OP4 receptor with its physiological ligand nociceptin caused, in cultured endothelial cells, the activation of a mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascade. Taken together, these results show that the OP4 receptor is synthesised and functionally expressed in endothelial cells, presumably as a starting point for some vasoactive mechanism(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 2003


  • Aorta
  • Endothelial cell
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • In situ hybridization
  • MAP (mitogen-activated protein) kinase
  • OP4 receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology


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