(-)-Norpseudoephedrine, a metabolite of cathinone with amphetamine-like stimulus properties, enhances the analgesic and rate decreasing effects of morphine, but inhibits its discriminative properties

Paolo Nencini, Sabina Fraioli, Tiziana Pascucci, C. Vania Nucerito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Like psychomotor stimulants, a weak amphetamine-like agent, such as phenylpropanolamine, enhances the analgesic effects of morphine (MOR). Thus, it is possible that full psychomotor stimulant potency is not required to increase the analgesic action of opiates. The validity of this assumption is here tested by studying the ability of (-)-norpseudoephedrine (NPE), an enantiomer of phenylpropanolamine and a metabolite of cathinone, to influence both the analgesic effects of MOR and its discriminative stimulus properties. In mice NPE (5.6-10.0-17.0 mg/kg i.p.) did not prolong the latency to lick or to remove paws from a plate warmed at 54°C. However, it significantly potentiated the analgesic effect of 3.2 mg/kg of MOR. These results were replicated in rats by use of the formalin test, which measures the numbers of hind paw flinches produced by injecting 50 μl of formalin into the dorsal surface of the paw. The higher dose of NPE (17 mg/kg) increased the effect of sub-analgesic doses of MOR (0.56 and 1.0 mg/kg). In rats trained to discriminate between 0.5 mg/kg of amphetamine and solvent in a two-lever operant behavior reinforced by water access, NPE induced a dose-dependent increment of drug lever responding from 0% at 1.0 mg/kg to 100% at 32.0 mg/kg. In contrast, NPE did not generalize for the MOR cue up to the dose of 56.0 mg/kg, which produced a substantial reduction of the response rate. However, when given in combination, NPE attenuated the discriminative effects of MOR and potentiated its inhibitory action on the response rate. These results exclude a direct action of NPE on the μ opiate system. In conclusion, NPE preserves amphetamine-like properties and these properties are probably responsible for the interaction of the drug with the analgesic and discriminative effects of MOR. Therefore, this study contradicts the assumption that the analgesic effects of MOR can be enhanced by a sympathomimetic drug that lacks significant psychostimulant actions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume92
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1998

Keywords

  • (-)-Norpseudoephedrine
  • Amphetamine
  • Analgesia
  • Drug- discrimination
  • Morphine
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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