Endogenous Opioids and Blood Pressure in Man

  • P. C. Rubin


Effects on the cardiovascular system have been recognized as part of the pharmacological profile of opiate drugs since the end of the nineteenth century when orthostatic hypotension was documented in dogs [1]. The early clinical studies performed with pethidine in man showed that this drug too can lower blood pressure at doses used clinically [2]. Knowledge in this area increased substantially following the publication of an extensive study into the mechanism by which morphine lowers blood pressure in man [3]. Fifteen milligrams of morphine given intravenously significantly reduced hand vein venous pressure during temporary circulatory arrest, and there is a similar reduction in forearm venous tone. Forearm blood flow also increases significantly following morphine. These investigators presented evidence suggesting that the action of morphine was central rather than peripheral. Morphine had no effect on the arteriolar or venoconstrictor actions of noradrenaline when administered intraarterially, and conversely the actions of morphine on arterioles were unimpaired by beta-adrenoceptor, cholinoceptor, or histamine receptor blockade. Also, when morphine was given into a brachial artery there were no changes in forearm blood flow. These observations have taken on new relevance with the identification of endogenous opioids.


Sodium Nitroprusside Endogenous Opioid Forearm Blood Flow Luteinizing Hormone Release Opiate Drug 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Hall L (1985) The influence of the force of gravity on the circulation of the blood. J Physiol (Lond) 18: 15–23Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Branwood AW (1943) Clinical trials of pethidine. Edinburgh Med J 50: 177–182Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Zelis R, Mansour EJ, Capone RJ, Mason DT (1974) The cardiovascular effects of morphine. J Clin Invest 54: 1247–1258PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kosterlitz HW, Paterson SJ, Robson LE (1981) Characterisation of the k subtype of opiate receptor in guinea pig brain. Br J Pharmacol 73: 939–949PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Rubin PC, McLean K, Reid JL (1983) Endogenous opioids and baroreflex control in man. Hypertension 5: 535–538PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Grossman A, Moult PJA, Gaillard RD, Delitalu G, Toff WD, Rees LH, Besser GM (1981) The opioid control of LH and FSH release: effects of a Met-enkephalin analogue and naloxone. Clin Endocrinol 14: 41–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Frederickson RLA, Smithwick EL, Shuman R, Bemis KG (1981) Metkephamid, a systematically active analog of methionine enkephalin with potent opioid receptor activity. Science 211: 603v605Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Pasanisi F, Sloan L, Rubin PC (1985) Cardiovascular properties of metkephamid, a 6 opioid receptor agonist, in man. Clin Sci 68: 209–213PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Richardson DW, Honour AS, Fenton GW, Stott FH, Pickering GW (1964) Variation in arterial pressure throughout the day and night. Clin Sci 26: 445–461PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Rubin PC, Blaschke TF, Guilleminault C (1981) Effect of naloxone, a specific opioid inhibitor, on blood pressure fall during sleep. Circulation 63: 117–121PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. C. Rubin
    • 1
  1. 1.University Department of Materia MedicaStobhill General HospitalGlasgowScotland, UK

Personalised recommendations