Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mice can synthesize their own morphine, research shows

Date:
May 6, 2010
Source:
Technische Universitaet Dortmund
Summary:
Traces of morphine in urine samples have been considered a clear proof of drug use or the consumption of food containing poppy in the past. Now a study by a team of scientists in Germany and the U.S. points to another possible explanation: they managed for the first time to prove that mice -- and probably humans and other mammals as well -- produce their own morphine in their bodies.

Researchers have discovered that mice -- and probably humans and other mammals as well -- produce their own morphine in their bodies.
Credit: iStockphoto

Traces of morphine in urine samples have been considered a clear proof of drug use or the consumption of food containing poppy in the past. Now a study by a team of scientists from the Institute of Environmental Research at TU Dortmund and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St Louis, Missouri, point to another possible explanation: they managed for the first time to prove that mice -- and probably humans and other mammals as well -- produce their own morphine in their bodies.

For these experiments the scientists injected the mice with labeled tetrahydropapaveroline (THP) over a period of five days. This chemical is the substance which the poppy plant converts into morphine in a complex process involving several steps. These steps, 17 altogether, were exactly what the scientists found in the mice.

"The animals have to possess an elaborate enzyme system which enables them to produce morphine autonomously," explains Prof. Michael Spiteller from the Dortmund Institute of Environmental Research. Apart from one little difference in the early stages, the conversion process is the same in the animal and the poppy plant. According to Spiteller, evolution has obviously found two ways to synthesize morphine.

The purpose of the body's own morphine production is still unclear. Morphine might help the nerve cells to communicate with each other. But it is also possible that animals, and possibly humans too, use the production of morphine, for instance, under shock or in case of severe injuries as the body's own painkiller.

Further investigations in cooperation with the university hospital in Cologne are to establish clarity.

The research was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Technische Universitaet Dortmund. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. N. Grobe, M. Lamshoft, R. G. Orth, B. Drager, T. M. Kutchan, M. H. Zenk, M. Spiteller. Urinary excretion of morphine and biosynthetic precursors in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; 107 (18): 8147 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1003423107

Cite This Page:

Technische Universitaet Dortmund. "Mice can synthesize their own morphine, research shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100506165907.htm>.
Technische Universitaet Dortmund. (2010, May 6). Mice can synthesize their own morphine, research shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100506165907.htm
Technische Universitaet Dortmund. "Mice can synthesize their own morphine, research shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100506165907.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins