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J Comp Neurol. 1982 Jun 20;208(2):209-14.

Effect of morphine on 3H-thymidine incorporation in the subependyma of the rat: an autoradiographic study.


Following morphine treatment, an autoradiographic study investigated the uptake of 3H-thymidine by the subependymal cells in the rat brain. 3H-thymidine was administered subcutaneously to adult, male Sprague-Dawley rats 30 minutes after saline or morphine (19 mg/kg) injection. The animals were sacrified 1 hour after 3H-thymidine administration. In some experiments the opioid antagonist, naloxone, was given alone 45 minutes before 3H-thymidine or 125 minutes before morphine treatment. Three areas of the subependyma were evaluated in terms of the percentage labeled cells and number of grains per nucleus, and a dorsal-to-ventral gradiant was described. Morphine treatment significantly increased the number of 3H-thymidine labeled subependymal cells and number of grains/nucleus within labeled cells. Examination of the distribution of grains/nucleus showed that morphine-treated animals had significantly more cells labeled with 30 or more grains than did saline-injected controls. Prior administration of naloxone blocked the increased 3H-thymidine uptake in morphine-treated animals but had no significant influence on cell proliferation when administered alone. The data are discussed in terms of morphine's possible dual influence on mechanisms which enhance cell transition from G to S phase and/or which accelerate DNA synthesis once these cells have entered the S phase of cell replication.

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