Intravenous (i.v.) administration of morphine produces a dose-dependent inhibition of the tail-flick (TF) reflex, depressor response, and bradycardia in the rat. Some of these effects depend on interactions of i.v. morphine with peripheral opioid receptors and the integrity of cervical vagal afferents. The present studies used the relatively specific μ, δ, and κ opioid receptor agonists (DAGO, DPDPE or U-50,488H) and the relatively specific μ, δ, and κ opioid receptor antagonists (ß-FNA, naloxonazine, naltrindole or nor-BNI) in either intact rats or rats with bilateral cervical vagotomy (CVAG) to delineate the vagal afferent/opioid-mediated components of these effects. I.v. administration of DAGO in intact rats produced a dose-dependent inhibition of the TF reflex, depressor response, and bradycardia virtually identical to those produced by i.v. morphine. All of these effects of either i.v. DAGO or i.v. morphine were significantly attenuated by either bilateral CVAG or pre-treatment with the μ2 opioid receptor antagonist ß-FNA. Pre-treatment with the μ1 opioid receptor antagonist naloxonazine affected i.v. DAGO-induced inhibition of the TF reflex and bradycardia, but had no significant effects on i.v. morphine-produced responses. I.v. administration of DPDPE produced a dose-dependent pressor response, but had no marked effects on the either the TF reflex or heart rate (HR). The pressor response was unaffected by either bilateral CVAG or pre-treatment with naltrindole, naloxone, hexamethonium, or bertylium. i.v. administration of U-50, 488H produced a depressor response and bradycardia, but had no significant effect on the TF reflex. The depressor response and bradycardia produced by i.v. U-50,488H were unaffected by bilateral CVAG, but could be antagonized by pre-treatment with either nor-BNI or naloxone. These studies suggest that the vagal afferent-mediated antinociceptive and cardiovascular effects of i.v. morphine are primarily mediated by interactions with low affinity μ2 opioid receptors. © 1993.