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Eur J Pharmacol. 1995 Mar 24;276(1-2):107-11.

Effects of methylnaltrexone on morphine-induced inhibition of contraction in isolated guinea-pig ileum and human intestine.

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Committee on Clinical Pharmacology, University of Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


We investigated the effects of methylnaltrexone on morphine-induced inhibition of smooth muscle-strip contraction in isolated guinea-pig ileum and human small intestine. The longitudinal muscle-strip was immersed in a temperature-controlled (37 degrees C) bath containing a physiological solution of 95% O2 and 5% CO2 with pH 7.4. Muscle contraction was elicited by transmural electrical stimulation with a pulse duration of 0.5 ms at frequencies of 1-50 Hz for 5-10 s at 1-3-min intervals. Muscle contraction was blocked by tetrodotoxin or atropine in both preparations. When methylnaltrexone was applied to the bath, the force produced by muscle contraction was enhanced up to approximately 30%. Stimulation-elicited muscle contraction was inhibited by morphine, which decreased the force of contraction 42 +/- 9.5% (S.D.) in the human intestine preparation and 35 +/- 8.6% in guinea-pig ileum at the inhibitory concentration 70% (IC70). Methylnaltrexone effectively antagonized the effects of morphine-induced inhibition of muscle-strip contraction. In the guinea-pig ileum preparation, methylnaltrexone at 30, 100 and 300 nM blocked 25 +/- 10.5%, 74 +/- 7.2% and 89 +/- 9.9% of morphine-induced (300 nM) inhibition, respectively. In the human intestine preparation, methylnaltrexone at the same concentrations blocked 57 +/- 10.9%, 74 +/- 12.9% and 92 +/- 7.2% of morphine-induced (100 nM) inhibition, respectively. The relative ratio of methylnaltrexone to morphine was higher in human intestine (1:1) than in the guinea-pig ileum preparation (1:3). These data provide preliminary information for clinical studies to evaluate the efficacy of methylnaltrexone in preventing or reducing morphine-induced antimotility and antitransit actions.

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