Naloxone-induced bradycardia in pithed rats: Evidence for an interaction with the peripheral sympathetic nervous system and alpha-2 adrenoceptors

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Earlier experiments performed in this laboratory have demonstrated that naloxone infusion (1 mg/kg/min i.v.) into conscious rats results in a bradycardia that has a peripheral component, is dependent on a certain level of sympathetic activity and is sensitive to alpha adrenoceptor blockade (5 mg/kg of phentolamine i.v.). The main objective of this investigation was to examine the underlying mechanism(s) responsible for the peripherally mediated naloxone-induced bradycardia, and to test the hypothesis that naloxone interacts with peripheral inhibitory alpha adrenoceptors associated with depression of peripheral sympathetic activity. Naloxone infusion (1 mg/kg/min i.v.) in pithed rats, in the absence of sympathetic nerve activation, resulted in a bradycardia that could not be blocked by 1 mg/kg (i.v.) of atropine, 5 mg/kg (i.v.) of phentolamine, 0.1 mg/kg (i.v.) of prazosin or 0.5 mg/kg (i.v.) of rauwolscine. Isoproterenol or norepinephrine-induced tachycardia was not blocked by naloxone infusion, suggesting that naloxone does not antagonize the postjunctional activation of cardiac adrenoceptors to cause bradycardia. In the presence of sympathetic nerve activity, naloxone depresses neurogenic tachycardia. This effect was blocked completely by 5 mg/kg (i.v.) of phentolamine or 0.5 mg/kg (i.v.) of rauwolscine, but not 0.1 mg/kg (i.v.) of prazosin or 1 mg/kg (i.v.) of atropine. The results of this investigation suggest that the naloxone-induced bradycardia in pithed rats is mediated postjunctionally and prejunctionally, and that this prejunctional effect is dependent on sympathetic nerve activity and inhibitory alpha-2 adrenoceptors. Furthermore, these results confirm results obtained from conscious rats in an earlier investigation.

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Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics





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This article was published in Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Volume 263, Issue 3, Pages 918-927.

The published version is available at http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/.

Copyright © 1992.

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