Antinociceptive effects of intrathecally administered human β-endorphin in the rat and cat
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Rats chronically implanted with intrathecal catheters displayed a dose-dependent increase in the hot-plate and tail-flick response latencies following the injection of human beta-endorphin into the lumbar spinal subarachnoid space through the indwelling catheter. beta-Endorphin was approximately 25 times more potent than morphine on a molar basis. Matching morphine and beta-endorphin doses such that approximately equal submaximal submaximal effects occurred, it was observed that the antinociception produced by beta-endorphin lasted approximately three times longer than that produced by morphine. Experiments with intrathecal injection of beta-endorphin into the spinal subarachnoid space of cats fitted with intrathecal catheters also revealed a potent antinociceptive effect which was completely antagonized by naloxone. In the rats, naloxone administered systemically in doses of 10--100 microgram/kg produced a parallel shift in the dose-response curves of both nociceptive measures suggesting a competitive antagonism. Using a dose ratio analysis, an in vivo pA2 of 7.1 for naloxone was obtained. These data and those derived from previous work based on the pA2 suggest that the interaction of morphine, certain pentapeptides, and beta-endorphin is the same with regard to the spinal opiate receptor population mediating behaviorally defined analgesia.
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