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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1981 Jan;59(1):37-44.

Cyclobenzaprine: a possible mechanism of action for its muscle relaxant effect.


Intravenously administered cyclobenzaprine (CBZ) (Flexeril), a clinically used, centrally acting muscle relaxant, abolished muscle rigidity in the intercollicular decerebrate rat. In animals in which the locus coeruleus was lesioned bilaterally previously, CBZ failed to attenuate the electromyogram. In the ventral horn of the cord, which receives a dense noradrenergic innervation from the locus coeruleus, CBZ caused an increase in the metabolism of noradrenaline. In the zona intermedia of the thoracic cord, which is not innervated by the locus coeruleus, CBZ caused only minimal effects on noradrenaline metabolism. Cells in the locus coeruleus were activated by CBZ. The results indicate that in the intercollicular decerebrate rat, an intact, coerulospinal, noradrenergic projection is essential for the muscle relaxant effect of CBZ. Muscle relaxation apparently results from an activation of locus coeruleus neurones, leading to an increased release of noradrenaline in the ventral horn of the cord and the subsequent inhibitory action of noradrenaline on alpha motoneurones.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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