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Eur J Pharmacol. 1993 Mar 2;232(2-3):207-15.

Morphine and diffuse noxious inhibitory controls in the rat: effects of lesions of the rostral ventromedial medulla.

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Inserm U-161, Paris, France.


The aim of this study was to investigate whether the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) participates in the lifting of diffuse noxious inhibitory controls (DNIC) by systemic morphine. The effects of morphine (1 mg/kg i.v.) on DNIC were compared in sham-operated rats and animals with electrolytic lesions of the RVM performed one or three weeks earlier. The C-fibre-evoked responses of spinal dorsal horn convergent neurones were similar in the sham-operated and lesioned animals. DNIC acting on these responses were also similar in these groups. DNIC were similarly reduced naloxone reversibly following morphine injections in sham-operated animals and animals tested one week after lesioning of the RVM. In contrast, DNIC were not significantly altered by morphine in animals tested three weeks after lesioning. The lesions were similar in both groups of animals. This time-dependent attenuation of the effects of morphine indicates that the RVM is not directly involved in the reduction of DNIC induced by systemic morphine. However, it is suggested that lesions in this region can induce a reorganization of brainstem opioidergic systems.

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