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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 Jan 2024 - 19 Jan 2024

2024 Jan 13

Biomed Pharmacother



L-cysteine ethylester reverses the adverse effects of morphine on breathing and arterial blood-gas chemistry while minimally affecting antinociception in unanesthetized rats.


Baby SM, May WJ, Young AP, Wilson CG, Getsy PM, Coffee GA, Lewis THJ, Hsieh YH, Bates JN, Lewis SJ


L-cysteine ethylester (L-CYSee) is a membrane-permeable analogue of L-cysteine with a variety of pharmacological effects. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of L-CYSee on morphine-induced changes in ventilation, arterial-blood gas (ABG) chemistry, Alveolar-arterial (A-a) gradient (i.e., a measure of the index of alveolar gas-exchange), antinociception and sedation in male Sprague Dawley rats. An injection of morphine (10 mg/kg, IV) produced adverse effects on breathing, including sustained decreases in minute ventilation. L-CYSee (500 μmol/kg, IV) given 15 min later immediately reversed the actions of morphine. Another injection of L-CYSee (500 μmol/kg, IV) after 15 min elicited more pronounced excitatory ventilatory responses. L-CYSee (250 or 500 μmol/kg, IV) elicited a rapid and prolonged reversal of the actions of morphine (10 mg/kg, IV) on ABG chemistry (pH, pCO, pO, sO) and A-a gradient. L-serine ethylester (an oxygen atom replaces the sulfur; 500 μmol/kg, IV), was ineffective in all studies. L-CYSee (500 μmol/kg, IV) did not alter morphine (10 mg/kg, IV)-induced sedation, but slightly reduced the overall duration of morphine (5 or 10 mg/kg, IV)-induced analgesia. In summary, L-CYSee rapidly overcame the effects of morphine on breathing and alveolar gas-exchange, while not affecting morphine sedation or early-stage analgesia. The mechanisms by which L-CYSee modulates morphine depression of breathing are unknown, but appear to require thiol-dependent processes.