Sleepiness and decrease in attention are dose-limiting side effects of opioids. The orexin/hypocretin system plays an important role in maintaining wakefulness. This study aimed to explore the potential of a nonpeptide orexin receptor agonist to alleviate morphine-induced sedative effects.Methods:
Morphine sedative effects were evaluated as changes in electroencephalogram (EEG), locomotor activity, and acoustic startle response in rats (n = 5 to 9 per group). Effects of intracerebroventricular orexin-A and systemic orexin type-2 receptor agonist, YNT-185, on EEG changes induced by morphine were examined. Furthermore, the authors examined effects of morphine administered with or without YNT-185 on locomotor activity and on acoustic startle response.Results:
Morphine-induced, frequent, short epochs of increased power (total epoch duration: 0.5 [0.0 to 8.0] s/10 min during baseline vs. 74.0 [49.0 to 115.0] s/10 min during the post–morphine administration period; P = 0.012). EEG analyses revealed that morphine-induced, high-amplitude, slow activity (increase in spectral power of frequencies less than 15 Hz, baseline vs. postmorphine; P < 0.001). Orexin-A and YNT-185 attenuated these changes. Locomotor activity decreased after morphine (268 [103 to 889] ambulatory movement counts during baseline period [20 min] vs. 138 [7 to 434] counts during 40 to 59 min postadministration; P = 0.012), but did not change after morphine with YNT-185 (363 [121 to 636] vs. 864 [381 to 1092] counts, difference within morphine + YNT-185 group; P = 0.071). Startle response latency was longer after morphine (26 [20 to 28] ms) than after morphine with YNT-185 (17 [16 to 18] ms; P = 0.012).Conclusions:
Orexin-A and/or YNT-185 attenuated morphine-induced sedative effects assessed by EEG changes and behavioral measures in rats. The authors’ results suggest that orexin-2 receptor activation alleviates morphine-induced sedative effects.