Opioid actions: insights from imaging

Cathy Stannard, Michael Coupe and Anthony Pickering

in Opioids in Non-Cancer Pain

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print March 2013 | ISBN: 9780199678075
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191757464 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Pain Management Library

Opioid actions: insights from imaging

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  • Clinical Oncology
  • Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • Pain Medicine


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The use of radiolabelled opioid ligands has enabled the distribution of receptors to be mapped in health and in some chronic pain conditions. Changes in the receptor distribution have been suggested to play a role in the pathology of some chronic pain states and may also be associated with heritable traits such as COMT polymorphism. Dynamic assessment of radioligand binding has been used to reveal the engagement of the endogenous opioid system during maintained painful stimulation and during placebo expectation of analgesia. Activation of areas, such as the anterior cingulate cortex, appears to be associated with the analgesic effects of exogenous opioids.

Chapter.  1756 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Oncology ; Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics ; Pain Medicine

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