Evidence that oxymorphone-induced increases in micronuclei occur secondary to hyperthermia.
Although individuals who abuse drugs are prone to an increased risk of malignancy, the mutagenic and carcinogenic potential of these agents has received relatively little attention. We report here on the potential of morphine to induce micronuclei in murine lymphocytes. Following a single intraperitoneal injection of 20 mg/kg morphine, the frequency of micronucleated binuclear (cytochalasin-blocked) murine T- and B-splenocytes was elevated from 12-36 hr after treatment. The maximum frequencies seen 24 hr after injection were 6.3- and 4.9-fold greater than the respective controls. A dose-dependent induction of micronuclei was observed from 5-20 mg/kg morphine, with no further increases in frequency produced by higher doses. In contrast, incubation of mitogen-stimulated splenocytes with 10(-7)-10(-4) M morphine in vitro produced no change in frequency of micronucleated cells relative to controls. Treatment with the narcotic antagonist naloxone (5 mg/kg) alone had no effect on the frequency of micronuclei, but reduced the clastogenic response of a subsequently administered dose of morphine (20 mg/kg). Thus, in murine lymphocytes morphine indirectly produces genetic damage, which is at least in part opioid receptor-mediated.