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Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2003 Oct;47(4):407-14.

Blocking of enhanced sensitivity to behavioral effects of naloxone induced by narcotic agonists in rats.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 110 029.


The present experiment evaluated whether prior treatment with naloxone could block the sensitization to opiate antagonist induced by single dose administration of pure agonist (morphine) or mixed agonist (buprenorphine). Food deprived male Wistar rats were trained to respond for food on a multiple-trial, fixed-interval 3 min schedule. Reinforcement was contingent upon a response within a 10-s limited hold period following a fixed-interval of 3 min. A trial consisted of three fixed interval of 3 min separated by a 10 min timeout period during which responses were not reinforced. The rate decreasing effects of the opioid antagonist naloxone was determined by cumulative dosing. Pretreatment with morphine (0.3 mg/ kg, SC) and buprenorphine (0.03 mg/kg, SC) resulted in an increase sensitivity to the rate decreasing effect of naloxone compared to saline pretreatment. Administration of naloxone (0.3 mg/kg) 10 min prior to pretreatment doses of buprenorphine (0.03 mg/kg; 1.0 mg/kg) and morphine (0.3 mg/kg) increased sensitization to naloxone. However, greater sensitization was observed at low dose of buprenorphine. The increased sensitivity was partially blocked at high dose of buprenorphine (1.0 mg/ kg) by naloxone pretreatment. These results suggest that the doses of naloxone used to block opioid induced sensitization might be different from those required in animals with normal sensitivity to opioid antagonists. Further agonist-induced sensitization to behavioral effects of opioid antagonist appears to be opioid receptor specific.

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