The integration of molecular biology with neuroscience in the 1980’s has allowed for the study of how molecular events within the nervous system mediate functionally-relevant behaviors. This is especially true with the ability to identify specific receptors within the brain through cloning strategies, and then use molecular approaches to manipulate these receptors. In relating such advances to behavioral function, it is imperative to find particular behaviors that are sensitive to specific manipulations of neurotransmitter or neuropeptide receptors. This review will indicate that the endogenous opioid system in mediating primarily ingestive, but also analgesic responses, is quite sensitive to these mordern molecular approaches. This review will focus on knockdown techniques using antisense oligodeoxynucleotides and how this approach employing opoid receptor G protein α-subunit antisense probes could further elucidate feeding responses elicited by either opioid receptor agonists or by homeostatic situations mediated in part by the opioid system (e. g., normal, deprivation, glucoprivic and lipoprivic feeding).
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