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The central effects of morphine on fetal breathing movements in the fetal sheep



The central effects of morphine on fetal breathing movements in the fetal sheep



Journal of Developmental Physiology 8(4): 297-305



The fetal respiratory and electrocortical effects of 0.6 microgram to 600 micrograms of morphine, administered into the lateral cerebral ventricle, have been studied in chronically catheterised, unanaesthetized fetal sheep at 115-135 days gestation. Morphine at 0.6 microgram had no effect on breathing movements or electrocorticographic activity, and at 6 micrograms induced a period of apnoea (43-122 min) but had no effect on electrocortical activity. Intravenous naloxone (2 mg bolus and infusion of 2 mg/kg/h for 2 h) to the fetus had no effect on this apnoea. Morphine at 60 micrograms induced an initial period of apnoea (30-65 min) followed by episodic but significantly deep breathing movements with no effect on electrocortical activity and at 600 micrograms induced an initial period of apnoea (22-95 min) which was followed by deep, irregular and continuous (126-302 min) breathing movements. During the apnoea electrocortical activity initially remained cyclic, but as apnoea progressed there was a gradual reduction in the voltage of the electrocorticogram to a low voltage state. Intravenous naloxone (2 mg bolus and infusion of 2 mg/kg/h for 2 h) reversed both the respiratory and electrocortical effects. The hyperventilation was also inhibited by hypoxia. Naloxone alone had no effect on fetal breathing activity.

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Accession: 006612264

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PMID: 3760485



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