Acute tolerance to spinally administered morphine compares mechanistically with chronically induced morphine tolerance

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Abstract

The mechanistic similarity between acutely and chronically induced morphine tolerance has been previously proposed but remains largely unexplored. Our experiments examined the modulation of acutely induced tolerance to spinally administered morphine by agonists that affect the N- methyl-D-aspartate receptor and nitric oxide synthase systems. Antinociception was detected via the hot water (52.5°C) tail flick test in mice. Intrathecal pretreatment with morphine (40 nmol) produced a 9.6-fold rightward shift in the morphine dose-response curve. This shift confirmed the induction of acute spinal morphine tolerance. Intrathecal copretreatment with the receptor antagonists (competitive and noncompetitive, respectively) dizolcipine (MK801, 3 nmol) or LY235959 (4 pmol) and morphine [40 nmol, intrathecally (i.t.)] attenuated acute tolerance to morphine measured 8 hr later. A 60-min pretreatment of 7-nitroindazole (6 nmol, i.t.), a selective neuronal NOS inhibitor, followed by administration of morphine (40 nmol, i.t.) blocked the induction of morphine tolerance. Intrathecal copretreatment with morphine (40 nmol, i.t.) and agmatine (4 nmol, i.t.), an imidazoline receptor agonist and putative nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, almost completely abolished acute spinal morphine tolerance. The results of these experiments agree with previous reports using models of chronically induced morphine tolerance. This evidence supports the proposal that the mechanisms responsible for acute morphine tolerance parallel those underlying chronic morphine tolerance. This study attests to the powerful predictive value of the acute induction as a model for morphine tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1408-1417
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Volume282
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1997

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