The effect of the narcotic antagonists naloxone, naltrexone and nalorphine on spinal cord C-fiber reflexes evoked by electrical stimulation or radiant heat

Eur J Pharmacol. 1977 Mar 21;42(2):147-54. doi: 10.1016/0014-2999(77)90354-5.


C-fiber reflexes were recorded from an S1 ventral root in the acute decerebrate low spinal cat following stimulation of the ipsilateral superficial peroneal nerve or application of radiant heat to the metacarpel footpad. Naloxone when administered i.v. increased the electrically evoked C-fiber reflex to 158% (+/- 23.8% S.E.M.) of control 10 min after administration; whereas, naltrexone, 0.0025 mg/kg, increased the C-fiber reflex to 206 +/- 26.1% (S.E.M.) of control. Naloxone in a dose of 0.050 mg/kg increased the radiant heat evoked ventral root reflext to 161 +/- 19.5% of control. Nalorphine, 1 mg/kg, facilitated the electrically evoked C-fiber reflex to 282 +/- 75% of control. These findings that naloxone and naltrexone facilitated these reflexes in doses too small to have non-specific excitatory effects and that nalorphine facilitated the C-fiber reflex at a dose level that is depressant to the flexor reflex in the chronic spinal dog are consistent with a hypothesis that these effects are due to antagonism of a naturally occurring opiate-like inhibitory substance.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Decerebrate State
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Hot Temperature
  • Nalorphine / pharmacology*
  • Naloxone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Naloxone / pharmacology*
  • Naltrexone / pharmacology*
  • Reflex / drug effects*
  • Spinal Cord / drug effects*
  • Spinal Cord / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • Naloxone
  • Naltrexone
  • Nalorphine