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Life Sci. 1998;62(17-18):1677-81.

Lack of tolerance in peripheral opioid analgesia in mice.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Neuroscience, Nagasaki University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Japan.


We recently developed a sensitive peripheral analgesic test in mice. Bradykinin, a representative pain-producing substance, when given subcutaneously through a polyethylene tube into the plantar of the limb connected to a transducer, induced a flexor reflex response, in a dose dependent manner. When morphine, a mu-opioid receptor agonist, was added to the plantar through another polyethylene tube, bradykinin-induced responses were completely abolished in a naloxone-reversible manner. These peripheral analgesic effects were also observed with DAMGO, another mu-opioid receptor agonist, and U-69,593, a kappa-opioid receptor agonist, but not DSLET, a delta-opioid receptor agonist. When morphine was given subcutaneously to the back, a potent analgesia in the tail pinch test was observed. Repeated administrations of morphine once per day for 5 days showed a marked tolerance or reduction in morphine analgesia on the 6th day, while there was no significant reduction in the peripheral analgesia of morphine. These findings suggest that tolerance to morphine analgesia is mediated through synaptic plasticity in the central nervous system, but not through a receptor desensitization at the level of the single cell.

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