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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Dec 2023 - 8 Dec 2023

2023 Dec 05

Sci Rep




Morphine aggravates inflammatory, behavioral, and hippocampal structural deficits in septic rats.


Ayieng'a EO, Afify EA, Abuiessa SA, Elblehi SS, El-Gowilly SM, El-Mas MM


Although pain and sepsis are comorbidities of intensive care units, reported data on whether pain control by opioid analgesics could alter inflammatory and end-organ damage caused by sepsis remain inconclusive. Here, we tested the hypothesis that morphine, the gold standard narcotic analgesic, modifies behavioral and hippocampal structural defects induced by sepsis in male rats. Sepsis was induced with cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) and behavioral studies were undertaken 24 h later in septic and/or morphine-treated animals. The induction of sepsis or exposure to morphine (7 mg/kg) elicited similar: (i) falls in systolic blood pressure, (ii) alterations in spatial memory and learning tested by the Morris water maze, and (iii) depression of exploratory behavior measured by the new object recognition test. These hemodynamic and cognitive defects were significantly exaggerated in septic rats treated with morphine compared with individual interventions. Similar patterns of amplified inflammatory (IL-1β) and histopathological signs of hippocampal damage were noted in morphine-treated septic rats. Additionally, the presence of intact opioid receptors is mandatory for the induction of behavioral and hemodynamic effects of morphine because no such effects were observed when the receptors were blocked by naloxone. That said, our findings suggest that morphine provokes sepsis manifestations of inflammation and interrelated hemodynamic, behavioral, and hippocampal deficits.