Microinjection of morphine (1.0 μg/0.1 μl) produced a significant suppression (∼ 60%) of the single unit activity of locus coeruleus noradrenergic neurons in freely moving cats. This effect was reversible by systemic administration of the opioid receptor antagonist, naloxone (1.0 mg/kg i.v.). The microinjection of naloxone (1.0 μg/0.1 μl), however, was without effect on the spontaneous activity of noradrenergic neurons in the locus coeruleus. Non-noradrenergic neurons recorded in the same vicinity showed no consistent response to the microinjection of morphine. These results suggest that the direct effect of opioids in the locus coeruleus is an inhibition of noradrenergic neuronal activity. Furthermore, it appears that opioid influences upon these neurons are not tonically active.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Locus coeruleus
- Single unit activity