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Cardiorespiratory effects and efficacy of morphine sulfate in winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus)

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  • 1 Department of Integrative Biology, College of Biological Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
  • | 2 Ocean Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John's, NL A1C 5S7, Canada
  • | 3 Department of Integrative Biology, College of Biological Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada

Abstract

Objective—To assess the cardiorespiratory effects of morphine sulfate and evaluate whether morphine blocks cardiac responses to a noxious stimulus in winter flounder.

Animals—42 winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) that were acclimated at 10°C.

Procedures—Each fish was fitted with a Doppler flow probe around the ventral aorta; cannulae were placed for injection of drug or saline (0.9% NaCl) solution and assessments of respiration. Selected cardiorespiratory variables were measured in morphine-injected (40 mg/kg, IP [n = 18] or 17 mg/kg, IV [2]) or saline solution–injected (1.6 mL [22]) fish at various intervals. Heart rate and cardiac output (CO) were also measured in flounder that were injected with saline solution (n = 19) or morphine (10) and received a noxious or innocuous stimulus (injection of 5% acetic acid or saline solution SC into a cheek) 50 minutes later.

Results—Morphine administration promptly induced marked bradycardia (and a concomitant reduction in CO), followed by prolonged (> 48 hours) increases in CO and heart rate. Morphine injection only transiently affected respiratory rate. Application of a noxious stimulus to control flounder resulted in a significant (10%) but transient (< 5 minutes' duration) increase in CO, which was completely blocked by prior administration of morphine.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Although morphine blocked the response to a noxious stimulus in fish, its cardiovascular effects might preclude its use in many research situations. Investigation of the dose dependency of these cardiovascular effects and their interspecific variation is required to determine the applicability of morphine for use in fish.

Abstract

Objective—To assess the cardiorespiratory effects of morphine sulfate and evaluate whether morphine blocks cardiac responses to a noxious stimulus in winter flounder.

Animals—42 winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) that were acclimated at 10°C.

Procedures—Each fish was fitted with a Doppler flow probe around the ventral aorta; cannulae were placed for injection of drug or saline (0.9% NaCl) solution and assessments of respiration. Selected cardiorespiratory variables were measured in morphine-injected (40 mg/kg, IP [n = 18] or 17 mg/kg, IV [2]) or saline solution–injected (1.6 mL [22]) fish at various intervals. Heart rate and cardiac output (CO) were also measured in flounder that were injected with saline solution (n = 19) or morphine (10) and received a noxious or innocuous stimulus (injection of 5% acetic acid or saline solution SC into a cheek) 50 minutes later.

Results—Morphine administration promptly induced marked bradycardia (and a concomitant reduction in CO), followed by prolonged (> 48 hours) increases in CO and heart rate. Morphine injection only transiently affected respiratory rate. Application of a noxious stimulus to control flounder resulted in a significant (10%) but transient (< 5 minutes' duration) increase in CO, which was completely blocked by prior administration of morphine.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Although morphine blocked the response to a noxious stimulus in fish, its cardiovascular effects might preclude its use in many research situations. Investigation of the dose dependency of these cardiovascular effects and their interspecific variation is required to determine the applicability of morphine for use in fish.

Contributor Notes

Supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grants (awarded to Drs. Stevens and Gamperl) and by the Ocean Sciences Centre (Memorial University of Newfoundland) through an NSERC Major Facility Access Grant.

Address correspondence to Ms. Newby.