In a previous study in unanesthetized goats, we demonstrated that cerebrospinal fluid levels of beta-endorphin were significantly elevated after 2.5 h of inspiratory flow-resistive loading. Naloxone (NLX) (0.1 mg/kg) administration partially and transiently reversed the tidal volume depression seen during loading. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that endogenous opioid elaboration results in depression of respiratory output to the diaphragm. In six studies of five unanesthetized goats, tidal volume (VT), transdiaphragmatic pressure (Pdi), diaphragmatic electromyogram (EMGdi), and arterial blood gases were monitored. A continuous NLX (0.1 mg/kg) or saline (SAL) infusion was begun 5 min before an inspiratory flow-resistive load of 120 cmH2O.l-1.s was imposed. Our data show that the depression of VT induced by the load was prevented by NLX as early as 15 min and persisted for 2 h. At 2 h, Pdi was still 294 +/- 45% of the base-line value compared with 217 +/- 35% during SAL. There was no difference in EMGdi between the groups at any time. However, the augmentation of Pdi was associated with a greater increase in end-expiratory gastric pressure in the NLX group. We conclude that the reduction in VT and Pdi associated with endogenous opioid elaboration is not mediated by a decrease in neural output to the diaphragm, but it appears to be the result of a decrease in respiratory output to the abdominal muscles.
- Copyright © 1989 the American Physiological Society