Key words Morphine
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The changes in the content of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) in discrete brain nuclei during chronic opioids administration have not been well established. We evaluated the effects of acute and chronic morphine administration on the content of CRF and AVP in different hypothalamic and extrahypothalamic (bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, BNST) nuclei in rats. Concomitantly, changes in hypothalamic noradrenaline (NA) turnover [estimated by the 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylethyleneglycol MHPG/ NA ratio] and in plasma corticosterone release (as a marker of the activity of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis) were determined. Male rats were implanted with placebo (naïve) or morphine (tolerant) pellets for 7 days. On day 8, groups of rats received an acute injection of either saline i.p. or morphine (30mg/kg i.p.) and were sacrificed 30min later. Acute morphine injection to naïve rats increased both the release of corticosterone and the hypothalamic NA turnover. CRF and AVP showed no modifications in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) or in the median eminence (ME). CRF content decreased in the ventromedian nucleus (VMN) and increased in the BNST, but did not change in the arcuate nucleus (AN). AVP was elevated in the supraoptic nucleus (SON) but not changed in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). In chronic morphine-treated rats, there was a pronounced decrease in the NA turnover and in the release of corticosterone, which indicates that tolerance develops to the acute effects of morphine. Correspondingly, CRF and AVP were enhanced in the PVN and decreased in the ME, when compared with naïve rats injected with morphine. CRF content was decreased in the AN and in the BNST, but increased in the VMN. The AVP content was decreased in the SON, and no modifications were seen in the SCN. The present study shows that, in addition to the modifications in corticosterone secretion and in hypothalamic NA turnover, chronic morphine administration produces a complex response in the CRF and AVP systems. These modifications might contribute to the behavioral, emotional and neuroendocrine alterations produced during opioid tolerance.
Type of Medium: