Inhibition of neuronal firing by opiates: evidence against the involvement of cyclic nucleotides.


1. Extracellular recordings were made in vitro from single neurones of the myenteric plexus of the guinea-pig ileum. 2. Neuronal firing was inhibited by morphine and normorphine (10 nM to 1 micrometer). Cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cyclic AMP) (100 micrometer to 1 mM) also inhibited the firing of the majority of the neurones. Prostaglandin E2 usually caused a short-lasting excitation of myenteric neurones and the phosphodiesterase inhibitor 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine was usually without effect on firing rate. 3. The inhibition of neuronal firing by normorphine was unaffected by prior and/or concurrent administration of cyclic AMP, dibutyryl cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate, prostaglandin E2 or 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine. As these four treatments might be expected to elevate intracellular levels of cyclic AMP, the results lend no support to the notion that a reduction in intracellular cyclic AMP is essential to the inhibition of firing produced by morphine.


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