12 Scopus citations


We studied the role of morphine in anoxia/reoxygenation injury to hepatocytes. Overnight cultured rat hepatocytes were incubated in anoxic buffer at pH 6.2 for 4 h and reoxygenated at pH 7.4 for 2 h to simulate anoxia/reoxygenation. Some hepatocytes were preincubated with 50 μM morphine for 10 min prior to onset of anoxia/reoxygenation. To study the effect of morphine on nitric oxide (NO), hepatocytes were loaded with 4-amino-5-methylamino-2′,7′-difluorofluorescein (DAF-FM). Changes in NO concentration were assessed with a multi-well fluorescence reader and confocal microscopy. Morphine substantially improved cell viability after reoxygenation and increased NO generation, which was blocked by ATP-sensitive potassium channel blockers. Confocal images revealed that the increase in NO occurred mainly at the cytosol. However, treatment with opioid receptor antagonists did not reverse cytoprotection by morphine. These results indicate that morphine prevents anoxia/reoxygenation injury to hepatocytes. Protective mechanisms are associated with the potassium channels and NO, but are independent of opioid receptor-mediated signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)958-964
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 29 2006


  • Anoxia/reoxygenation
  • Hepatocytes
  • Ischemia
  • K channels
  • Morphine
  • Nitric oxide


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