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Life Sci. 1983 Apr 25;32(17):1957-66.

Similarities between morphine withdrawal in the rat and the menopausal hot flush.


Skin temperature, cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses to morphine withdrawal in the rat were evaluated in an effort to develop a potential animal model for the menopausal hot flush in women. Morphine dependency was produced by s.c. implantation of pellets containing morphine alkaloid. In response to precipitous, naloxone-induced withdrawal, rats showed surges in tail skin temperature (TST) which were similar in magnitude (4.8 to 7.2 degrees C) and duration (60 to 90 min.) to peripheral skin temperature increases reported during menopausal hot flushes. Additionally, a brief period of accelerated heart rate (59%) and a 9-fold hypersecretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) preceded the TST response to morphine withdrawal. These cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses are observed to precede or coincide with the menopausal hot flush. Additionally, protracted morphine withdrawal subsequent to abstention, resulted in TST instability characterized by spontaneous, high amplitude TST fluctuations. Thus, the alteration in skin temperature, heart rate and LH secretion during precipitated morphine withdrawal in the rat are similar in magnitude, duration and in their temporal relationship to those observed during the hot flush. These data suggest a possible opioid etiology in this vasomotor disturbance. Acute withdrawal in the morphine addicted rats may serve as an animal model by which to study the neural mechanism underlying the menopausal hot flush.

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