Morphine Action at Central Nervous System Sites in Rat: Analgesia or Hyperalgesia Depending on Site and Dose

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  02 Nov 1973:
Vol. 182, Issue 4111, pp. 490-492
DOI: 10.1126/science.182.4111.490


Morphilne was injected via fine-gauge cannulas permanently implanted in various subcortical sites in the rat brain. In this way the blood-brain barrier was avoided and precise quantities of the drug were delivered to the intended sites. Ten micrograms of morphine in the posterior hypothalamus resulted in siginificant analgesia, while the same dose injected into the medial septum, the caudate, or the periaqueductal gray matter yielded hyperalgesia. The morphine-produced hyperalgesia at the last-mentioned site was accompanied by stereotyped violent circular leaps, an effect of morphine not previously reported. Thus, intracerebral injections of morphine differ significantly from systemic injections and produce either analgesia or hyperalgesia, depending on site and dose.