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Possible involvement of nitric oxide in morphine-induced miosis and reduction of intraocular pressure in rabbits.


The role of μ3 opioid receptors in morphine-induced intraocular pressure (IOP) lowering effect and miosis was evaluated in conscious, dark-adapted New Zealand white (NZW) rabbits using a masked-design study. IOP and pupil diameter (PD) measurements were taken at just before and 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 6 h after monolateral instillation of morphine (10, 50 and 100 μg/30 μl) as compared to vehicle administered in the contralateral eye. Morphine-induced ocular effects were challenged by a pre-treatment with the non-selective opioid receptor antagonist, naloxone (100 μg/30 μl), the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, Nω-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (l-NAME, 1%, 30 μl), or the non-selective μ3 opioid receptor inhibitor, reduced l-glutathione (GSH, 1%, 30 μl). Morphine induced a dose-dependent decrease in IOP and PD. Pre-treatment with naloxone totally prevented morphine-induced decrease in IOP and miosis. Ocular administration of l-NAME or GSH alone failed to affect IOP or PD of NZW rabbits. However, pre-treatment with either drugs significantly reduced, but not totally prevented ocular effects of morphine. These results suggest that biochemical mechanisms related to nitric oxide release are involved, at least in part, in morphine effects on the eye. Since the μ3 opioid receptor subtype is able to release nitric oxide and is sensitive to inactivation by GSH, it may be possible that μ3 opioid receptors are involved in morphine-induced miosis and reduction in IOP. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.