Axonal transport of [3H]protein in the nigro‐neostriatal pathway in rats was examined during acute and chronic morphine administration and during morphine abstinence. Two days after a microinjection of [3H]lysine into the left substantia nigra zona compacta, more than 95% of the radioactivity present in the rat forebrain was protein‐bound. Examination of frozen frontal brain sections revealed that 80–90% of the labelled protein of the injected side was located in brain areas traversed by the nigro‐neostriatal pathway. As a positive control, intranigrally administered colchicine reduced the amount of [3H]protein transported after 5 days to the nucleus caudatus‐putamen (neostriatum) to approx 18‐26% of control. In animals rendered morphine‐dependent by subcutaneous implantation of tablets containing 75 mg of morphine base, 27–86% more radioactivity accumulated in the neostriatum at 3, 4 and 5 days after [3H]lysine injection. In contrast, 23–48% less radioactivity was recovered in the neostriatal areas of animals withdrawing from morphine 24 h after [3H]lysine. Gel electrophoresis of soluble and particulate [3H]protein fractions from neostriatal tissues indicated that the gel patterns of radioactivity were not altered by chronic morphine administration. Neither morphine administration nor morphine abstinence altered the rate or amount of [3H]lysine incorporation into protein of the substantia nigra. These data demonstrate that chronic morphine administration was accompanied by a generalized increase in the amount of labelled protein transported to the neostriatum but the procedure was not sufficiently sensitive to detect a minor qualitative alteration of any particular protein(s). Furthermore, these data suggest that either the capacity or the rate of nigro‐neostriatal protein transport may be increased during chronic morphine administration in the rat.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Neurochemistry|
|State||Published - Feb 1977|