Butorphanol and nalbuphine have substantial affinity for μ and κ- opioid receptor sites, yet their behavioral effects in monkeys are largely consistent with a μ receptor mechanism of action. Using ethylketocyclazocine (EKC) discrimination and diuresis assays in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta), the purpose of the current investigation was to characterize the in vivo κ- opioid activity of these compounds through the use of an insurmountable μ- opioid receptor antagonist, clocinnamox. Alone, butorphanol (0.001-0.032 mg/kg i.m.) failed to generalize to EKC, and pretreatment with the competitive opioid receptor antagonist quadazocine (0.1 or 0.32 mg/kg i.m.) did not alter this generalization. At 24 h after clocinnamox (0.1 mg/kg i.m.) administration, butorphanol fully generalized to EKC, and this generalization was maintained in two of three monkeys at 72 h. Parallel results were observed in diuresis: butorphanol alone and in the presence of quadazocine (1 mg/kg i.m.) did not alter urine output, and a marked diuretic effect was demonstrated 24 h to 2 weeks after clocinnamox administration. Clocinnamox did not alter the discriminative stimulus or diuretic effects of nalbuphine or of the κ-opioid receptor agonists EKC or U69593. These results are consistent with an in vivo agonist activity of butorphanol at κ-opioid receptors that can only be demonstrated when an insurmountable antagonist has substantially eliminated the dominant receptor population through which it exerts its action.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics|
|State||Published - Jul 1999|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine