Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 629–641 | Cite as

Agmatine and Imidazoline Receptors: Their Role in Opioid Analgesia, Tolerance and Dependence

  • Ning Wu
  • Rui-Bin Su
  • Jin Li
Original Paper


Agmatine is an endogenous amine that is synthesized following the decarboxylation of l-arginine by arginine decarboxylase. Agmatine exists in mammalian brain and has been proposed as a neurotransmitter and/or neurotransmodulator. Agmatine binds to several targets and is considered as an endogenous ligand for imidazoline receptors. This review, mainly based on our research work in the past decade, focused on the modulations by agmatine action on imidazoline receptors to opioid analgesia, tolerance and dependence, and its possible neurochemical mechanisms. We went on to propose that agmatine and imidazoline receptors constitute a novel system of modulating opioid functions.


Agmatine Imidazoline receptors Opioid Analgesia Tolerance and dependence 



This work was supported by National Basic Research Program of China (2003CB515400). We thank Prof. Xian-Sheng Lu for correcting the writing of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Institute of Pharmacology and ToxicologyBeijingP.R. China

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