Table of Contents
ISRN Addiction
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 674534, 13 pages
Review Article

Neuropsychological Functions of μ- and δ-Opioid Systems

Moscow Research and Practical Center for Narcology, Department of Healthcare, 37/1 Lyublinskaya ul., Moscow 109390, Russia

Received 31 October 2013; Accepted 8 December 2013

Academic Editors: J. C. Chen and G. Herradon

Copyright © 2013 Anna G. Polunina and Evgeny A. Bryun. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Brain opioid innervation is involved in many pathophysiological processes related to drug addiction. The main idea of the present review is that μ-/δ-opioid innervation is an intrinsic component of the motor/approach behavior network, which is activated synergetically with dopaminergic mesocorticolimbic network. Contribution of opioid innervation to the motor/approach behavior processing includes generation of positive emotions and inhibition of pain and stress reactions in order that the individual would be able to reach the vital goal. We cite the neuroanatomical data which showed that motor subcortical nuclei contain the most abundant opioid innervation and its activation is an obligatory component of positive emotions. In the majority of life situations, motor/approach behavior network concomitantly activates pain/stress control opioid network. Intensive cognitive activity induces activation of opioid innervation as well, and both enhancing and impairing effects of opioid agonists on cognitive functioning were demonstrated. Overall, the functioning of endogenous opioid networks may be summarized as following: NO physical/cognitive activity = NO positive emotions plus NO pain/stress control. We suppose that contemporary findings concerning neuropsychological functions of endogenous opioid system explain many controversial issues in neuropsychiatric conditions predisposing to drug addiction and neurological mechanisms of opioid addiction.