Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Neuropharmacology. 2012 Sep;63(3):427-33. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.04.028. Epub 2012 May 2.

Sex differences in the Nociceptin/Orphanin FQ system in rat spinal cord following chronic morphine treatment.

Author information

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73126, USA.


Nociceptin/Orphanin FQ (N/OFQ) appears to contribute to the development of morphine tolerance, as blockade of its actions will block or reverse the process. To better understand the contribution of N/OFQ to the development of morphine tolerance, this study examined the effect of chronic morphine treatment on levels of N/OFQ and levels and activity of the N/OFQ peptide (NOP) receptor in spinal cord (SC) from male and female rats. Both male and female Wistar rats showed less responsiveness to morphine after subcutaneous injection of escalating doses of morphine (10, 20, 40, 60 and 80 mg/kg, respectively) twice daily for five consecutive days. Male rats were more tolerant to the antinociceptive actions of morphine than females. The N/OFQ content of SC extracts was higher in females than in males, regardless of treatment; following chronic morphine treatment the difference in N/OFQ levels between males and females was more pronounced. N/OFQ content in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was reduced 40% in male and 16% in female rats with chronic morphine exposure, but increased in periaqueductal grey of both sexes. Chronic morphine treatment increased NOP receptor levels 173% in males and 137% in females, while decreasing affinity in both. Chronic morphine increased the efficacy of N/OFQ-stimulated [³⁵S]GTPγS binding to SC membranes from male rats, consistent with increased receptor levels. Taken together, these findings demonstrate sex differences in N/OFQ-NOP receptor expression and NOP receptor activity following chronic morphine treatment. They also suggest interplay between endogenous N/OFQ and chronic morphine treatment that results in nociceptive modulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center