The possibility that the effects of [Leu]enkephalin in vitro on hepatic carbohydrate metabolism are mediated by interaction with angiotensin II receptors has been examined. Preincubation of hepatocytes with either the angiotensin II receptor antagonist [Sar1,Ile8]angiotensin II or 10 mM-dithiothreitol abolished the ability of both angiotensin II and [Leu]enkephalin to increase phosphorylase a in hepatocytes prepared from fed rats. Dithiothreitol had no effect on the stimulation of phosphorylase in the presence of glucagon or phenylephrine, although it also inhibited the response to vasopressin. [Leu]enkephalin displaced specifically bound 125I-labelled angiotensin II from hepatic plasma membranes over a concentration range of 10(-7)-10(-5) M. This correlated with the dose-response required to stimulate phosphorylase activity in intact hepatocytes and suggests that the effects of the opioid peptides on carbohydrate metabolism in liver are the result of cross-reactivity of the peptides with angiotensin II receptors. Addition of 10(-5) M-[Leu]enkephalin to isolated kidney tubule fragments stimulated gluconeogenesis from 5 mM-pyruvate, the magnitude of stimulation being comparable to that by either angiotensin II or adrenaline. This effect of the opioid peptide was also abolished by pretreatment of the tubules with [Sar1,Ile8]angiotensin II, suggesting that the ability of [Leu]enkephalin to interact with angiotensin II receptors is not restricted to the liver, but may occur in other tissues where both receptors occur together.
- © 1989 London: The Biochemical Society