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Eur J Pharmacol. 1999 Feb 26;368(1):9-16.

Different roles of mu-, delta- and kappa-opioid receptors in ethanol-associated place preference in rats exposed to conditioned fear stress.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Hoshi University, Ebara, Tokyo, Japan.


The present study was designed to investigate the role of the endogenous opioid system in the development of ethanol-induced place preference in rats exposed to conditioned fear stress (exposure to an environment paired previously with electric foot shock), using the conditioned place preference paradigm. The administration of ethanol (300 mg/kg, i.p.) with conditioned fear stress induced significant place preference. Naloxone (1 and 3 mg/kg, s.c.), a non-selective opioid receptor antagonist, significantly attenuated this ethanol-induced place preference. Moreover, the selective mu-opioid receptor antagonist beta-funaltrexamine (3 and 10 mg/kg, i.p.) and the selective delta-opioid receptor antagonist naltrindole (1 and 3 mg/kg, s.c.) significantly attenuated ethanol-induced place preference. In contrast, the selective kappa-opioid receptor antagonist nor-binaltorphimine (3 mg/kg, i.p.) significantly enhanced ethanol-induced place preference. Furthermore, 75 mg/kg ethanol (which tended to produce place preference) combined with the mu-opioid receptor agonist morphine (0.1 mg/kg, s.c.) or the selective delta-opioid receptor agonist 2-methyl-4aalpha-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-1,2,3,4,4a,5,12,12aalpha- octahydroquinolino [2,3,3,-g] isoquinoline (TAN-67; 20 mg/kg, s.c.), at doses which alone did not produce place preference, produced significant place preference. However, co-administration of the selective kappa-opioid receptor agonist trans-3,4-dichloro-N-(2-(1-pyrrolidinyl)cyclohexyl)benzenacetamide methanesulfonate (U50,488H; 0.3 and 1 mg/kg, s.c.) with ethanol (300 mg/kg, i.p.) dose dependently attenuated ethanol-induced place preference. Moreover, conditioned fear stress shifted the response curve for the aversive effect of U50,488H to the left. These results suggest that mu- and delta-opioid receptors may play critical roles in the rewarding mechanism of ethanol, and that kappa-opioid receptors may modulate the development of the rewarding effect of ethanol under psychological stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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