Effects of divalent cations, cation chelators and an ionophore on morphine analgesia and tolerance

R. A. Harris, H. H. Loh, E. L. Way

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The analgesic effect of morphine was antagonized in mice by intracerebroventricular injection of Ca++, Mg++ and Mn++ and was potentiated by ethylene glycol tetraacetic acid but was not altered by Sr++, Ba++, Ni++, Hg++, Cd++ or ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid. The antagonistic effect of Ca++ was not altered by pretreatment with pargyline or 6 hydroxydopamine indicating that altered release of catecholamines or serotonin was not involved in this action of Ca++. Induction of morphine tolerance by pellet implantation also did not alter the antagonistic effect of Ca++. The antagonistic effects of Ca++ and naloxone were additive in both nontolerant and tolerant animals and the apparent affinity of naloxone for its receptors, as estimated by in vivo pA2 determinations, was not altered by Ca++. However, the ionophore X537A was found to increase greatly the narcotic antagonist effect of a low dose of Ca++ although the ionophore alone did not alter the effects of morphine. This indicates that Ca++ must penetrate cell membranes in order to reduce the analgesic effects of morphine. These findings indicate the importance of Ca++ localization in the actions of narcotic agonists and antagonists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-498
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1975


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