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Eur J Pharmacol. 2006 Nov 7;549(1-3):63-70. Epub 2006 Aug 16.

Involvement of mu-opioid receptors in antinociception and inhibition of gastrointestinal transit induced by 7-hydroxymitragynine, isolated from Thai herbal medicine Mitragyna speciosa.

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Laboratory of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Josai International University, 1 Gumyo, Togane, Chiba 283-8555, Japan.


7-hydroxymitragynine, a constituent of the Thai herbal medicine Mitragyna speciosa, has been found to have a potent opioid antinociceptive effect. In the present study, we investigated the mechanism of antinociception and the inhibitory effect on gastrointestinal transit of 7-hydroxymitragynine, and compared its effects with those of morphine. When administered subcutaneously to mice, 7-hydroxymitragynine produced antinociceptive effects about 5.7 and 4.4 times more potent than those of morphine in the tail-flick (ED50=0.80 mg/kg) and hot-plate (ED50=0.93 mg/kg) tests, respectively. The antinociceptive effect of 7-hydroxymitragynine was significantly blocked by the mu1/mu2-opioid receptor antagonist beta-funaltrexamine hydrochloride (beta-FNA) and the mu1-opioid receptor-selective antagonist naloxonazine in both tests. Thus, 7-hydroxymitragynine acts predominantly on mu-opioid receptors, especially on mu1-opioid receptors. Isolated tissue studies further supported its specificity for the mu-opioid receptors. Further, 7-hydroxymintragynine dose-dependently (ED50=1.19 mg/kg, s.c.) and significantly inhibited gastrointestinal transit in mice, as morphine does. The inhibitory effect was significantly antagonized by beta-FNA pretreatment, but slightly antagonized by naloxonazine. The ED50 value of 7-hydroxymitragynine on gastrointestinal transit was larger than its antinociceptive ED50 value. On the other hand, morphine significantly inhibits gastrointestinal transit at a much smaller dose than its antinociceptive dose. These results suggest that mu-opioid receptor mechanisms mediate the antinociceptive effect and inhibition of gastrointestinal transit. This compound induced more potent antinociceptive effects and was less constipating than morphine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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