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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of opiates on the growth of neuron-enriched cultures from chick embryonic brain.

Neuron-enriched cultures derived from 6-day-old chick embryo cerebral hemispheres were treated with morphine or methadone, 10(-5) M or 10(-6) M, on days 4-6 or 6-8 in culture and were evaluated morphologically and biochemically at day 9 using phase contrast microscopy and choline acetyltransferase activity (ChAT) as a cholinergic marker. The treatment of the cultures with morphine markedly affected their growth pattern; specifically, we observed an increased number of flat cells presumptively glia, and aggregates sided by flat cells and devoid of thick bundles of neuritic processes that normally characterize neuron-enriched cultures. These morphologic changes were reflected in a drastic decrease of ChAT activity in cultures treated from day 4 to day 6 but not from 6 to 8. In contrast to morphine, exposure to 10(-6) M methadone from day 4 to day 6 resulted in reduced ChAT activity but the growth pattern of the cultures remained morphologically intact. We suggest that morphine exerts a general neurotoxic effect whereas methadone may affect some specific cholinergic function.[1]


  1. Effects of opiates on the growth of neuron-enriched cultures from chick embryonic brain. Sakellaridis, N., Mangoura, D., Vernadakis, A. Int. J. Dev. Neurosci. (1986) [Pubmed]
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