In the present study, intestinal motility was measured by the transit of charcoal meal through the small intestine in mice. Nalbuphine, given subcutaneously, caused a dose-dependent inhibition of the intestinal transit in mice. This inhibitory effect of nalbuphine was antagonized by prior s.c. administration of naloxone and MR2266. In addition, the inhibitory effect of nalbuphine was also suppressed by prior administration of yohimbine, an alpha 2-adrenoceptor antagonist, and phentolamine, an antagonist for both alpha 1- and alpha 2-adrenoceptors. Unlike morphine, the intestinal inhibitory effect of nalbuphine was also antagonized by prazosin, a selective alpha 1-adrenoceptor antagonist. However, prior administration of propranolol did not alter this effect of nalbuphine. These adrenoceptor antagonists by themselves, at the doses used, had no effect on the rate of intestinal transit of a charcoal meal in mice. These results suggest that both alpha 1- and alpha 2-adrenoceptors may be involved in the intestinal effect of nalbuphine while beta-adrenoceptors do not appear to play any significant role in this aspect of nalbuphine's action.
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