Naltrexone modulates growth in infant rats
12 December 1983
Naltrexone, a potent opiate antagonist, had both stimulatory and inhibitory effects on somatic growth in preweaning rats depending on dose. Daily injections of 50 mg/kg naltrexone, which blocked morphine-induced analgesia for 24 hr/day, resulted in increased body and organ weights, and acceleration in the appearance of physical characteristics and maturation of spontaneous motor activity. Naltrexone in a dosage of 1 mg/kg, which blocked morphine-induced analgesia for 4 hr/day, had the opposite effects. These results show that naltrexone can modulate growth, and suggest a role for the endorphins and opiate receptors in developmental events.