Author(s): Wright AW, Mather LE, Smith MT
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Abstract In humans, hydromorphone (HMOR) is metabolised principally by conjugation with glucuronic acid to form hydromorphone-3-glucuronide (H3G), a close structural analogue of morphine-3-glucuronide (M3G), the major metabolite of morphine. In a previous study we described the biochemical synthesis of H3G together with a preliminary evaluation of its pharmacology which revealed that it is a neuroexcitant in rats in a manner analogous to M3G. Thus the aims of the current study were to quantify the neuro-excitatory behaviours evoked by intracerebroventricular (icv) H3G in the rat and to define its potency relative to M3G. Groups of adult male Sprague-Dawley rats received icv injections (1 microL) of H3G (1 - 3 microg), M3G (2 - 7 microg) or vehicle via a stainless steel guide cannula that had been implanted stereotaxically seven days prior to drug administration. Behavioural excitation was monitored by scoring fifteen different behaviours (myoclonic jerks, chewing, wet-dog-shakes, rearing, tonic-clonic-convulsions, explosive motor behaviour, grooming, exploring, general activity, eating, staring, ataxia, righting reflex, body posture, touch evoked agitation) immediately prior to icv injection and at the following post-dosing times: 5, 15, 25, 35, 50, 65 and 80 min. H3G produced dose-dependent behavioural excitation in a manner analogous to that reported previously for M3G by our laboratory and reproduced herein. H3G was found to be approximately 2.5-fold more potent than M3G, such that the mean (+/- S.D.) ED50 values were 2.3 (+/- 0.1) microg and 6.1 (+/- 0.6) microg respectively. Thus, our data clearly imply that if H3G crosses the BBB with equivalent efficiency to M3G, then the myoclonus, allodynia and seizures observed in some patients dosed chronically with large systemic doses of HMOR, are almost certainly due to the accumulation of sufficient H3G in the central nervous system, to evoke behavioural excitation.
This article was published in Life Sci
and referenced in Journal of Pain & Relief