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Comparison of withdrawal precipitating properties of various morphine antagonists and partial agonists in relation to their stereospecific binding to brain homogenates

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Abstract

In morphine-dependent rats the withdrawal precipitating properties of various morphine antagonists and partial agonists were studied by quantitatively evaluating a variety of different withdrawal signs. A comparison of the dose response curves of the various substances obtained for the different signs revealed marked differences in respect to the lowest effective doses (EDs) necessary to precipitate the withdrawal signs as well as in the maximum frequencies of the signs induced. The “pure” antagonist, naloxone, which was judged very potent according to the ED, precipitated the lowest levels of jumping, whereas certain partial agonists of the benzomorphane type, which were less potent according to the ED, induced very high levels of this sign. These latter compounds, however, failed to precipitate “complete” withdrawal, as evidenced by the nearly complete absence of some of the withdrawal signs.

The jumping precipitating potency of the antagonists as judged from the ED was found to be highly correlated to the stereospecific binding of these substances to rat brain homogenate. On the other hand, the ability of the substances to precipitate high levels of jumping was seen to increase, at least within a certain range, with increasing degree of agonistic properties, as indicated by the ratio of stereospecific binding in the presence and absence of sodium.

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BlÄsig, J., Höllt, V., Herz, A. et al. Comparison of withdrawal precipitating properties of various morphine antagonists and partial agonists in relation to their stereospecific binding to brain homogenates. Psychopharmacologia 46, 41–51 (1976). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00421548

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Key words

  • Precipitated morphine withdrawal
  • Morphine antagonists and partial agonists
  • Stereospecific opiate binding
  • Rats