The effects of ketamine and its enantiomers on the morphine- or dexmedetomidine-induced antinociception after intrathecal administration in rats

Gabriella Joó, Gyöngyi Horvath, Walter Klimscha, Gabriella Kekesi, Ildiko Dobos, Margit Szikszay, György Benedek

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55 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The spinal administration of some N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists results in antinociception and potentiates the effects of opioids and α2-adrenoceptor agonists, but ketamine and its enantiomers have not been examined. The present study investigated the interactions of racemic ketamine, R(-)-ketamine and S(+)-ketamine with morphine and with dexmedetomidine. Methods: Intrathecal catheters were implanted into male Wistar rats. Three days later, the acute nociceptive sensitivity was assessed using the tail-flick test. Analgesic latencies were converted to the percentage maximum possible effect. The dose that yielded 50% of the maximum possible effect (ED50) and dose-response and time-course curves were determined for the ketamines (30-300 μg), morphine (0.13.0 μg), dexmedetomidine (0.3-10.0 μg), and mixtures of two doses of ketamines (30 or 100 μg) with different doses of morphine or dexmedetomidine for fixed-dose analysis. Results: Neither racemic ketamine nor its enantiomers alone had a significant effect on the tail-flick test, with the exception of the highest dose of racemic ketamine, which caused motor impairment. Morphine and dexmedetomidine each produced dose-dependent antinociception, with ED50 of 1.7 μg (95% confidence interval: 1.04-2.32) and 4.85 μg (3.96-5.79), respectively. A low dose (30 μg) of racemic ketamine or its enantiomers did not influence the ED50 of morphine significantly. Coadministration of 100 μg racemic ketamine or S(+)-ketamine, but not R(-)-ketamine, significantly enhanced and prolonged the antinociceptive effect of morphine. Both doses of racemic ketamine or its isomers significantly decreased the ED50 value for dexmedetomidine, although the higher dose of racemic or S(+)-ketamine had the highest potency. One-hundred micrograms of racemic ketamine or S(+)-ketamine also prolonged the effects of dexmedetomidine. Conclusions: These data indicate that racemic ketamine and S(+)-ketamine, but not R(-)-ketamine, exhibit similar effectiveness in potentiating the antinociceptive effects of both morphine and dexmedetomidine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-241
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2000


  • Adrenoceptor
  • NMDA antagonist
  • Opioid
  • Pain
  • Spinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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