Effect of morphine administration on rat liver metallothionein and zinc metabolism

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    The putative involvement of opioid receptors in rat liver metallothionein (MT) regulation has been studied by means of morphine administration. Rat liver MT levels were significantly increased by morphine (10 mg kg-1). This increase was blocked by the opiate antagonist naloxone (4 mg kg-1), suggesting that the effect of morphine on liver MT could involve opioid receptors. The effect of morphine appears to be mediated, at least in part, by glucocorticoids and catecholamines, inasmuch as the administration of specific receptor blockers, RU 486 (100 mg kg-1) for glucocorticoids and labetalol (5 mg kg-1) for catecholamines, diminished liver MT increase induced by morphine. These results identify a potential mediation mechanism for regulating liver MT levels. The putative role of endogenous opioids on liver MT response to stress was also studied by means of opioid receptor blockers. The effect of stress on liver MT levels was not altered by blockade of opioid receptors with either naloxone (4 mg kg-1) or naltrexone (4 mg kg-1) or diprenorphine (4 and 20 mg kg-1), suggesting that endogenous opioids are not involved in MT response to stress. Zn metabolism was also altered by morphine, as morphine administration increased liver cytosolic Zn and decreased serum Zn levels. In contrast to those found in liver MT, these changes were not naloxone-sensitive. The results obtained with RU 486 and labetalol suggest that the effect of morphine on Zn metabolism was mediated in part by glucocorticoids and catecholamines.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)274-278
    JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1991


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