Dermorphin inhibits spinal nociceptive flexion reflex in humans

Giorgio Sandrini, Ettore C. Degli Uberti, Severo Salvadori, Angelo Margutti, Giorgio Trasforini, Roberto Tomatis, Giuseppe Nappi, Raffaele Pansini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dermorphin (D) is a potent opiate-like peptide isolated from the skin of some species of frogs. Experimental studies in animals indicate that D has a potent antinociceptive effect, while no investigation exists about its analgesic properties in humans. Our study shows that i.v. infusion of 0.16 mg/kg D induces a marked and long-lasting increase in the threshold of nociceptive flexion reflex in healthy volunteers. This effect is also evident in a complete chronic spinal subject, showing that D depresses the nociceptive transmission mainly acting at spinal level. Naloxone, while fully antagonizing the effects of morphine and enkephalin analogue, is able to reverse only partly (ca. 50%) the depressive effect of D on nociceptive spinal reflex. This fact may suggest that D interacts with different spinal opiate receptor populations in inducing analgesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-367
Number of pages4
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 23 1986


  • dermorphin
  • human
  • naloxone
  • nociceptive reflex
  • spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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