Effect of short-term administration of morphine on epidermal growth factor receptor level and iron deposition in rat ovarian tissue

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Biology, Faculty of Basic Sciences, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran



Background and Objective: Morphine is one of the most powerful analgesic substances that is widely used in the clinic. This substance increases nitric oxide (NO) levels and blood flow to the ovary and ruptures the follicle wall. Damaged tissue can be repaired under the influence of epidermal growth factor (EGF). This study aimed to investigate the effect of short-term administration of morphine on the intensity of EGF receptor (EGFR) and iron deposition in ovarian tissue in Wistar rats.
Materials and Methods: In this study, 16 female Wistar rats were randomly divided into two groups. The control group (n=8) received 1 ml/kg of saline twice, once a day intraperitoneally (i.p.). The experimental group received 5 mg/kg morphine sulfate (i.p.) once a day for two consecutive days. 24 hours after the last injection, rats were anesthetized with ketamine and xylazine, and the ovaries and uterus were isolated for histological study. Iron deposition was investigated with the help of potassium ferricyanide staining and EGF receptor (EGFR) density was determined by immunohistochemistry method.
Results: Hemochromatosis in the form of blue iron deposits was shown significantly in the group receiving morphine as compared to the control group. Also, a higher concentration of EGFR was observed in the group treated with morphine than in the control group, which indicates the involvement of EGF in ovarian hyperemia.
Conclusion: Short-term use of morphine can cause hemochromatosis as a result of iron deposition in the ovary which is associated with hyperemia due to high NO levels induced by EGF.


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