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Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Nov 2020 - 4 Dec 2020

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2020 Oct 27

Neurobiol Aging


Advanced age attenuates the antihyperalgesic effect of morphine and decreases μ-opioid receptor expression and binding in the rat midbrain periaqueductal gray in male and female rats.


The present study investigated the impact of advanced age on morphine modulation of persistent inflammatory pain in male and female rats. The impact of age, sex, and pain on μ-opioid receptor (MOR) expression and binding in the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (vlPAG) was also examined using immunohistochemistry and receptor autoradiography. Intraplantar administration of complete Freund's adjuvant induced comparable levels of edema and hyperalgesia in adult (2-3 mos) and aged (16-18 mos) male and female rats. Morphine potency was highest in adult males, with a greater than two-fold increase in morphine EC observed in adult versus aged males (3.83 mg/kg vs. 10.16 mg/kg). Adult and aged female rats also exhibited significantly higher EC values (7.76 mg/kg and 8.74 mg/kg, respectively) than adult males. The upward shift in EC from adult to aged males was paralleled by a reduction in vlPAG MOR expression and binding. The observed age-related reductions in morphine potency and vlPAG MOR expression and binding have significant implications in pain management in the aged population.