Author(s): Laviolette SR, Nader K, van der Kooy D
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Abstract We have previously reported that mesolimbic dopamine (DA) substrates are critically involved in the rewarding effects of opiates only during states of opiate-dependence and withdrawal. However, in previously drug-naive animals, opiate reward is mediated through a DA-independent neural system. In the present study, we report that bilateral microinjections of a DA receptor antagonist, alpha-flupenthixol (0.3-3 microg/0.5 microl) into the nucleus accumbens (NAc), blocks morphine reward (10 mg/kg, i.p.) in opiate-withdrawn animals, but not in opiate-naive animals, suggesting that accumbal dopamine receptors are required for opiate reward signaling in drug-deprived motivational states. Next, the role of dopamine was examined in the development of opiate dependence and somatic withdrawal, and expression of withdrawal aversions. Pretreatment with alpha-flupenthixol (0.8 mg/kg, i.p.) before morphine injections during the development of opiate dependence did not effect expression of withdrawal aversions or the expression of somatic withdrawal. We have previously reported that pretreatment with a dopamine receptor antagonist, alpha-flupenthixol, blocks the aversive effects of opiate withdrawal. We now report that pretreatment with a direct dopamine receptor agonist, apomorphine (1.0-5.0 mg/kg, i.p.) before conditioning in a state of withdrawal, also blocks the aversive effects of opiate withdrawal. We propose that the aversive motivational effects of opiate withdrawal may be mediated by a specific dopaminergic neuronal signal.
This article was published in Behav Brain Res
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy