Brain research. Molecular brain research vol:88 issue:1-2 pages:155-60
Morphine and morphine-6-glucuronide, a morphine metabolite, have been identified and quantified in Mytilus edulis pedal ganglia at a level of 2.67+/-0.44 and 0.98+/-0.14 ng/ganglia, respectively by high performance liquid chromatography coupled to electrochemical detection. These opiate alkaloids were further identified by both gas-chromatography mass spectrometry and nanoflow electrospray ionization double quadrupole orthogonal acceleration Time of Flight mass spectrometry. In animals that were starved, the morphine level rose to 6.38+/-0.88 ng/ganglion and the morphine 6-glucoronide rose to a level of 23.0+/-3.2 ng/ganglion after 30 days. These studies demonstrate that opiate alkaloids are present as naturally occurring signal molecules whose levels respond to stress, i.e., starvation. Opiate alkaloids were not found in the animal's incubation media or food, demonstrating their synthesis occurred in the respective tissue. These new method of opiate alkaloid detection, conclusively proves that morphine and morphine-6-glucuronide are present in animal tissues.