The experiments were designed to determine the role of pertussis toxin-(PTX) sensitive G-proteins Gi/Go in the brain and spinal cord in antinociception induced by epsilon-opioid receptor agonist beta-endorphin (beta-EP) and mu-opioid receptor agonist morphine. The effects of intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) or intrathecal (i.t.) pretreatment with PTX on antinociception induced by morphine, beta-endorphin (beta-EP) and other selective opioid receptor agonists given i.c.v. or i.t. were studied in male ICR mice. Antinociception was assessed by the tail-flick and hot-plate tests. An i.c.v. pretreatment with PTX (0.5 microgram) caused a time- and dose-dependent attenuation of the tail-flick and hot-plate inhibition induced by i.c.v.-challenged morphine-induced antinociception. However, the same pretreatment with PTX did not affect the antinociception induced by i.c.v.-administered beta-EP. The tail-flick and hot-plate inhibition induced by selective mu-, delta- and kappa-opioid receptor agonist, DAMGO, [D-Ala2]deltorphin II and U50,488H, respectively, given i.c.v. was also attenuated by the i.c.v. pretreatment with PTX. An i.t. pretreatment with PTX (0.5 microgram) blocked markedly the tail-flick inhibition induced by morphine and beta-EP given i.c.v. However, the same treatment did not affect the hot-plate inhibition induced by beta-EP and attenuated, to a lesser degree, the hot-plate inhibition induced by morphine given i.c.v. An i.t. pretreatment with PTX blocked the tail-flick inhibition induced by selective delta 2-, alpha 2 and 5-HT receptor agonist [D-Ala2]deltorphin, norepinephrine and 5-HT, respectively, given i.t. Our results indicate that the antinociception induced by mu-, delta-, kappa-opioid receptor agonists given supraspinally is mediated by respectively opioid receptors that are coupled to PTX-sensitive Gi/Go proteins at the supraspinal sites and subsequently mediated by the activation of PTX-sensitive Gi/Go coupled receptors in the spinal cord. However, the antinociception induced by beta-EP given supraspinally is mediated by the PTX-resistant epsilon-opioid receptors at the supraspinal sites and subsequently activation of the delta 2-opioid receptors in the spinal cord that is sensitive to the pretreatment with PTX.