Prevention by morphine of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid-induced penile erection and yawning: involvement of nitric oxide

Brain Res Bull. 1997;44(6):689-94. doi: 10.1016/s0361-9230(97)00235-9.


The effect of morphine on the increase of NO2- and NO3- concentration in the dialysate obtained with a microdialysis probe implanted in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, and penile erection and yawning induced by N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) was studied in male rats. NMDA (50 ng) injected in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, induced penile erection and yawning and increased NO2- from 1.10 +/- 0.28 microM to 7.30 +/- 1.10 microM and NO3- from 5.05 +/- 0.71 microM to 11.03 +/- 1.61 microM. Morphine (1-10 microg), but not U-69,593 (10 microg), a selective agonist of the kappa opiate receptor subtype, prevented in a dose-dependent manner NMDA-induced increase in NO2- and NO3- concentration when injected in the paraventricular nucleus 15 min before NMDA. Morphine prevention of NMDA-induced NO2- and NO3- increase was related to a concomitant decrease in the number of penile erection and yawning episodes induced by the excitatory amino acid. Morphine effect was not observed in male rats treated with the opiate receptor antagonist naloxone (10 microg) microinjected in the paraventricular nucleus 15 min before morphine. The present results suggest that morphine prevents an NMDA-induced increase in paraventricular NO production, penile erection, and yawning by inhibiting NO synthase activity in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus through the stimulation of opioid receptors of the micro subtype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Benzeneacetamides*
  • Dizocilpine Maleate / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists / pharmacology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Microdialysis
  • Morphine / pharmacology*
  • N-Methylaspartate / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • N-Methylaspartate / pharmacology
  • Naloxone / pharmacology
  • Narcotic Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Narcotics / pharmacology*
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology*
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / anatomy & histology
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / drug effects
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / metabolism
  • Penile Erection / drug effects*
  • Pyrrolidines / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Yawning / drug effects*


  • Benzeneacetamides
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Narcotics
  • Pyrrolidines
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Naloxone
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Dizocilpine Maleate
  • Morphine
  • U 69593