Original Article

Effects of morphine on sensitivities of alpha-adrenoceptors in toad spinal ganglion neurons

Authors: Yong Chen, A-Jing Wang, Yi-Long Ma

Abstract

Intracellular recordings were performed on 35 neurons from 35 isolated toad spinal ganglia (SG) and the extracellular free calcium ion activities were measured in another 26 isolated toad SG by Ca(2+)-selective microelectrodes. The effects of morphine on the sensitivities of alpha-adrenoceptors were observed. It was found that depolarization of membrane potential induced by norepinephrine (NE 10-100 mumol.L-1) or alpha 1-adrenoceptor agonist phenylephrine (100 mumol.L-1) was depressed by morphine (27 mumol.L-1). Superfusing SG with opioid receptor antagonist naloxone (100 mumol.L-1) blocked the depressing effect of morphine on NE-induced depolarization. The depressing effect of morphine on NE-induced depolarization was not affected by superfusing SG with alpha 2-adrenoceptor antagonist yohimbine (5 mumol.L-1). NE (100 mumol.L-1) reduced the extracellular free calcium ion activity while morphine (27 mumol.L-1) increased the extracellular free calcium ion activity in SG. It is concluded that morphine down-regulates the sensitivity of alpha 1-adrenoceptor in toad SG neuron mediated by opioid receptor and the variation in Ca2+ activity may be involved in this effect.
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