Effects of systemic morphine on escape latency and a hindlimb reflex response in the rat.
The present study uses focal electrical stimulation of myelinated nociceptors to simultaneously assess behavioral responses that are organized at spinal and supraspinal sites in the rat. Hindlimb reflex amplitude and the latency to operant escape responses by a forelimb were recorded for each stimulus presentation to a hindlimb across a wide range of intensities. This paradigm provided a tool whereby effects of morphine on conscious escape responses could be delineated from effects on a segmental flexion reflex over a range of doses. Administration of morphine (3 mg/kg and 10 mg/kg, subcutaneously) increased the latency of escape responses and decreased the amplitude of reflex responses in a dose-dependent manner. However, morphine produced a greater suppression of reflex responses compared with the increase in effects on escape latencies. The effects of morphine on escape latency were not expressed at the highest stimulus intensities (0.6 to 0.8 mA), whereas reflex responses were attenuated at all suprathreshold stimulus intensities. Thus, electrically evoked, spinal-mediated responses of rats are not affected by morphine in the same manner as electrically evoked supraspinal-mediated nociceptive behaviors. However, both measures confirm evidence that responses elicited by activation of myelinated afferents are less powerfully affected by morphine than responses to input from unmyelinated nociceptors.
Vincler, M; Maixner, W; Vierck, CJ; Light, AR
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