5α-reductase 1 regulates spinal cord testosterone after morphine administration
Hamid Reza Banafshe
Seyed Abdolreza Mortazavi-Tabatabaei
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The enzyme 5alpha-reductase 1 (5α-R 1 ) that converts testosterone (T) to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is present in many mammalian tissues including the spinal cord. It is established that morphine administration decreases spinal cord T levels, but the mechanism is still undetermined. Here, we investigated the link between T and the enzyme 5α-R 1 in the spinal cord after morphine administration. For spinal cord steroid extraction, all the animals were killed 30 min, 2 h (acute) and 14 days (chronic) after first drug injection by decapitation. The whole spinal cord was removed and kept frozen at -20 C until T and DHT extraction. The effects of acute and chronic morphine administration on 5α-R 1 expression in the adult male rat spinal cord were evaluated using RT-PCR. Spinal cord T and DHT levels were measured using radioimmunoassay before and after the morphine exposure. Morphine significantly reduced the T concentration after acute and chronic exposure in the spinal cord. In contrast, the 5α-R 1 expression and of course DHT levels increased the following chronic morphine administration. One important reason for the decreasing effect of morphine exposure on the spinal cord T level is due to an increase in the 5α-R 1 levels. We suggest that morphine plays a regulatory role in metabolism of neurosteroids, especially T in the spinal cord via 5α-R 1 . © 2012 Springer-Verlag.