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Eur J Pharmacol. 2000 Sep 15;404(1-2):153-9.

Effect of nociceptin/orphanin FQ on the rewarding properties of morphine.

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Department of Pharmacological Sciences and Experimental Medicine, University of Camerino, Via Scalzino 5, 62032 (MC), Camerino, Italy.


The present study investigated the effect of nociceptin/orphanin FQ, the endogenous ligand of the opioid receptor-like 1 (ORL1) receptor, on the rewarding properties of morphine in the place conditioning paradigm. Intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injections of nociceptin/orphanin FQ, 500 or 1000 (but not 250) ng/rat, abolished conditioned place preference induced by subcutaneous (s.c.) injections of morphine (3 mg/kg). These doses of nociceptin/orphanin FQ induced neither place aversion nor preference per se. The same doses did not modify the rat performance in the Morris water test, suggesting that they do not disrupt spatial learning and memory. Moreover, these doses of nociceptin/orphanin FQ did not modify the development of morphine-induced locomotor sensitization, suggesting that they do not interfere with sensitization processes to morphine. The present results confirm and extend previous reports that nociceptin/orphanin FQ is able to abolish morphine-induced conditioned place preference, and raise interest for the possible role of nociceptin/orphanin FQ and ORL1 receptors in the control of opiate abuse.

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