Local opioid inhibition and morphine dependence of supraoptic nucleus oxytocin neurones in the rat in vivo

M Ludwig, C H Brown, J A Russell, G Leng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

1. Single neurones of the rat supraoptic nucleus were recorded during microdialysis of naloxone onto the ventral surface of the nucleus in anaesthetized rats. We used this combination of techniques to test whether the acute or chronic effects of systemically or centrally applied opioids upon oxytocin cell activity were due to actions of the opioids within the nucleus itself. 2. Supraoptic nucleus oxytocin neurones were identified antidromically and by an excitatory response to intravenously injected cholecystokinin. Acute intravenous injection of the kappa-agonist U50488H or the mu-agonist morphine (1-5 mg kg-1) reduced the firing rate of identified oxytocin neurones by 97.7 +/- 4.8% (n = 6) and 94.1 +/- 4.1% (n = 7), respectively. The inhibition by each of these opioids was completely reversed after administration by microdialysis (retrodialysis) of the opioid antagonist naloxone (0.1-1.0 microgram microliter-1 at 2 microliters min-1) onto the exposed ventral surface of the supraoptic nucleus. 3. Retrodialysis of naloxone (0.1-10.0 micrograms microliter-1) onto the supraoptic nucleus of rats made dependent by intracerebroventricular morphine infusion for 5 days increased the firing rate of oxytocin neurones from 0.9 +/- 0.4 to 3.1 +/- 0.7 spikes s-1 (P < 0.05, n = 6). This increase in firing rate from basal was 58.5 +/- 15.1% of that following subsequent intravenously injected naloxone (5 mg kg-1). 4. Thus, the acute inhibition of supraoptic nucleus oxytocin neurones which results from systemic administration of opioid agonists primarily occurs within the supraoptic nucleus itself, since the antagonist naloxone was effective when given into the supraoptic nucleus. Furthermore, oxytocin neurones develop morphine dependence by a mechanism which is distinct from an action on their distant afferent inputs. Nevertheless, withdrawal excitation of these afferent inputs may enhance the magnitude of oxytocin neurone withdrawal excitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-52
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Physiology
Volume505 ( Pt 1)
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 1997

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • 3,4-Dichloro-N-methyl-N-(2-(1-pyrrolidinyl)-cyclohexyl)-benzeneacetamide, (trans)-Isomer
  • Animals
  • Electrophysiology
  • Female
  • Microdialysis
  • Morphine
  • Morphine Dependence
  • Naloxone
  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Neurons
  • Oxytocin
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu
  • Supraoptic Nucleus


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