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Life Sci. 1992;50(1):45-54.

Differential effects of opioid receptor agonists on nociception and cAMP level in the spinal cord of monoarthritic rats.

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Neuropeptides Research Department, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków.


Changes in functional responsiveness of spinal opioid receptors in monoarthritic rats were investigated at the behavioral and the molecular level. After intrathecal administration of morphine, D-Ala2-D-Leu5-enkephalin (DADLE), D-Pen2-D-Pen5-enkephalin (DPDPE) and dynorphin monoarthritic rats showed an enhanced antinociceptive response as measured by a tail-flick latency. No such changes were observed following administration of the selective kappa agonists U50,488H and U69,593. The opioid mu and delta receptor agonists (0.1-1.0 microM) inhibited the basal, as well as the forskolin-stimulated cAMP formation in spinal cord slices obtained from monoarthritic rats, whereas no significant changes were found in control animals. Higher concentrations of the mu and delta opioid receptor agonists were required to attenuate the cAMP level in spinal cord of control animals. The selective kappa agonists U50,488H and U69,593 did not influence the cAMP formation in monoarthritic or control animals. Additionally, we found that the GppNHp-stimulated level of cAMP was higher in the spinal cord slices of monoarthritic rats, which points to an enhanced responsiveness of the adenylate cyclase effector system to the action of this GTP analog. Our data suggest that the enhanced antinociceptive response to intrathecally administered opioids in monoarthritic rats may be connected with the increased sensitivity of adenylate cyclase to the inhibitory effects of mu and delta agonists.

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