Significant potentiation of analgesic effects of opioids can be achieved through selective blockade of their stimulatory effects on intracellular signaling pathways by ultra-low doses of opioid receptor antagonists. However, the generality and specificity of this interaction is not well understood. The bimodal modulation of pentylenetetrazole-induced seizure threshold by opioids provide a model to assess the potential usefulness of this approach in seizure disorders and to examine the differential mechanisms involved in opioid anti- (morphine at 0.5-3 mg/kg) versus pro-convulsant (20-100 mg/kg) effects. Systemic administration of ultra-low doses of naltrexone (100 fg/kg-10 ng/kg) significantly potentiated the anticonvulsant effect of morphine at 0.5 mg/kg while higher degrees of opioid receptor antagonism blocked this effect. Moreover, inhibition of opioid-induced excitatory signaling by naltrexone (1 ng/kg) unmasked a strong anticonvulsant effect for very low doses of morphine (1 ng/kg-100 μg/kg), suggesting that a presumed inhibitory component of opioid receptor signaling can exert strong seizure-protective effects even at very low levels of opioid receptor activation. However, ultra-low dose naltrexone could not increase the maximal anticonvulsant effect of morphine (1-3 mg/kg), possibly due to a ceiling effect. The proconvulsant effects of morphine on seizure threshold were minimally altered by ultra-low doses of naltrexone while being completely blocked by a higher dose (1 mg/kg) of the antagonist. The present data suggest that ultra-low doses of opioid receptor antagonists may provide a potent strategy to modulate seizure susceptibility, especially in conjunction with very low doses of opioids.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||10|
|State||Published - Nov 23 2004|
- clonic seizure threshold
- excitatory opioid receptor
- ultra-low dose naltrexone
ASJC Scopus subject areas