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Am J Physiol. 1990 Feb;258(2 Pt 1):G247-52.

Effects of morphine on colonic myoelectric and motor activity in subhuman primates.

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Department of Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.


We investigated the effects of numerous doses of morphine on colonic myoelectric and motor activity in monkeys. In each of four monkeys (Macaca arctoides), combined strain gauge transducers and bipolar electrodes were chronically implanted at four defined sites in the colon and recordings were made for 3 h in fasted, unanesthetized animals before and after intravenous administration of morphine sulfate (10-1,000 micrograms/kg). The basal fasting pattern of colonic motility was characterized by random contractions, nonmigrating clusters of contractions, and migrating individual contractions. Morphine at very low doses (10-25 micrograms/kg) had no effect on colonic motility at any site. At doses of 50-200 micrograms/kg, clusters and migrating contractions were eliminated, but there was an overall increase in the frequency of random contractions without an alteration in contraction amplitude or duration. At morphine doses of 500 and 1,000 micrograms/kg, contraction clusters and migrating contractions also were not seen, but there was a decrease in the colonic motility index caused entirely by a decreased frequency of random contractions. Both stimulation and inhibition were most marked in the sigmoid colon. Morphine has a dose-dependent biphasic effect on colonic myoelectric and contractile activity and alters colonic motility patterns by inhibiting migrating contractions and clusters of contractions.

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