Spinal paralysis and catalepsy induced by intrathecal injection of opioid agonists

Hanan Frenk*, Julius Miller, Jan N. Johannessen, David J. Mayer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The intrathecal administration of high (1.05 μmol) doses of D-Ala2-Met5-enkephalinamide (DAMA), D-Ala2-Leu5-enkephalinamide (DADLE), Try-D-Thr-Gly-Phe-Leu-Thr, MR2034-TA, dextrorphan tartrate, U50,488H, levorphanol tartrate, methadone hydrochloride, and 1-methyl-4-phenyl-4-propionoxypiperidine induced spinal hypokinesia. The first 5 of these compounds caused spinal paralysis, whereas the other compounds and lower doses of the first 4 induced waxy catalepsy that was restricted to the hindquarters of rats. The paralysis induced by DAMA was not reversible by IT injections of 50 μg naltrexone, indicating, together with the paralytic effects of dextrorphan, that traditional opiate receptors are not involved in this behavioral effect. The spinal catalepsy induced by 0.26 μmol of DAMA was prevented by IT pretreatment with 10 μg of naltrexone. In view of this finding and the observation that spinal catalepsy can be induced by agonists of all opiate receptor classes, it seems likely that spinal catalepsy is produced by activation of specific opiate receptors, although the subtype remains to be established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-247
Number of pages5
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1990


FundersFunder number
National Institute on Drug AbuseR01DA000576
Presbyterian Historical SocietyDA 00576


    • Hypokinesia
    • Multiple opiate receptor agonists
    • Naltrexone
    • Opioids
    • Spinal catalepsy
    • Spinal paralysis


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