Morphine as a Potential Oxidative Stress-Causing Agent
Jitka Skrabalova, Zdenka Drastichova and Jiri Novotny
Affiliation: Department of Physiology, Faculty of Science, Charles, University, 128 44 Prague 2, Czech Republic.
Keywords: Morphine, oxidative stress, reactive oxygen and nitrogen species.
Morphine exhibits important pharmacological effects for which it has been used in medical practice for quite a
long time. However, it has a high addictive potential and can be abused. Long-term use of this drug can be connected with
some pathological consequences including neurotoxicity and neuronal dysfunction, hepatotoxicity, kidney dysfunction,
oxidative stress and apoptosis. Therefore, most studies examining the impact of morphine have been aimed at determining
the effects induced by chronic morphine exposure in the brain, liver, cardiovascular system and macrophages. It appears
that different tissues may respond to morphine diversely and are distinctly susceptible to oxidative stress and subsequent
oxidative damage of biomolecules. Importantly, production of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species induced by morphine,
which have been observed under different experimental conditions, can contribute to some pathological processes, degenerative
diseases and organ dysfunctions occurring in morphine abusers or morphine-treated patients. This review attempts
to provide insights into the possible relationship between morphine actions and oxidative stress.
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