Remifentanil is a relatively new opioid analgesic related to the fentanyl family of mu opioid receptor agonists and is used clinically for its unique property of having an ultra-short duration of action. However, there is little preclinical data on the analgesic (antinociceptive) effects of remifentanil and none obtained in non-mammalian animal models. The antinociceptive effects of remifentanil were assessed by using the acetic acid test in amphibians. Systemic and spinal administration of remifentanil was made by subcutaneous and intraspinal injections in the Northern grass frog, Rana pipiens. After administration, remifentanil produced dose-dependent and long-lasting antinociceptive effects which persisted for five hours after systemic administration but gave a shorter duration of action after spinal delivery. The antinociceptive effects of remifentanil were significantly blocked by pretreatment with systemic naltrexone. Systemic and spinal administration of remifentanil produced log dose-response curves which yielded ED50 values of 7.1 nmol/g and 3.2 nmol/animal respectively. The relative antinociceptive potency of remifentanil compared to other opioids administered to amphibians is similar to that found in mammalian models.
- Mu opioid receptor
- Rana pipiens