The effect of intraplantarly (i.pl.)-injected methionine- enkephalin (ME) on Concanavalin A (Con A)-induced paw edema in Dark Agouti (DA) and Albino Oxford (AO) rats was investigated. ME suppressed edema in DA rats, which was antagonized with naloxone (non-selective opioid receptor antagonist) and naltrindole (delta opioid receptors antagonist). Potentiating effect of ME in AO rats was blocked by naloxone, nor- binaltorphimine (kappa opioid receptors antagonist) and beta- funaltrexarnine (mu opioid receptors antagonist). Dexamethasone suppressed edema in both rat strains. These findings suggest that strain-dependent differences in the effects of ME on inflammation in DA and AO rats could be related to diversity in opioid receptors expression in these strains. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.