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Placental opioid-enhancing factor (POEF): Generalizability of effects

Pergamon Press
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  • Behavioral Neuroscience


A substance in amniotic fluid and placenta (POEF for Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor) has been shown to enhance opiate- or opioid-mediated analgesia in rats. Recent studies have only touched on the generalizability of the phenomenon. The present studies further tested the generalizability of the POEF effect: they examined sex specificity of the mechanism, whether POEF activity exists in afterbirth material of species other than the rat; whether POEF activity exists in tissue other than afterbirth material; whether POEF activity could be demonstrated after injection rather than ingestion of afterbirth material; and whether POEF enhances all opioid-mediated phenomena. We found that (a) POEF is effective in male rats as well as in female rats; (b) POEF activity exists in human and dolphin afterbirth material; (c) ingestion of pregnant-rat liver does not produce enhancement of opioid-mediated analgesia; (d) POEF does not seem to be effective when amniotic fluid is injected either IPO or SC; and (e) POEF does not modify morphine-induced hyperthermia.

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