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.

Related Articles


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 November 27, 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 November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. 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