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Neurosci Lett. 1992 Sep 14;144(1-2):195-8.

Sites of action of morphine on the ascending excitatory reflex in the guinea-pig small intestine.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Pavia, Italy.


The effect of morphine on the ascending excitatory reflex of the circular muscle elicited by radial distension of the gut wall was studied in the isolated guinea-pig small intestine. A three compartment bath, in which an intermediate compartment divided the site of intraluminal stimulation (caudal compartment) from the site of reflex contraction recording (oral compartment), was used. Morphine (0.01-10 microM) applied independently to each compartment, caused a concentration-dependent depression (up to 90%) of the amplitude of distension-evoked reflex contractions. Concentration-response curves to morphine were shifted to the right by naloxone (30 nM) with an apparent pA2 value of about 8.5, which suggests an interaction with opioid mu-receptor subtypes. Our results indicate that morphine not only depressed transmission from excitatory motor neurons to the circular muscle but also neuro-neuronal transmission along the ascending excitatory reflex pathway.

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