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J Neurosci. 2002 Dec 15;22(24):10935-40.

Attenuation of nicotine-induced antinociception, rewarding effects, and dependence in mu-opioid receptor knock-out mice.

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  • 1Laboratori de Neurofarmacologia, Facultat de CiĆ©ncies de la Salut i de la Vida, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.


The involvement of mu-opioid receptors in different behavioral responses elicited by nicotine was explored by using mu-opioid receptor knock-out mice. The acute antinociceptive responses induced by nicotine in the tail-immersion and hot-plate tests were reduced in the mutant mice, whereas no difference between genotypes was observed in the locomotor responses. The rewarding effects induced by nicotine were then investigated using the conditioning place-preference paradigm. Nicotine produced rewarding responses in wild-type mice but failed to produce place preference in knock-out mice, indicating the inability of this drug to induce rewarding effects in the absence of mu-opioid receptors. Finally, the somatic expression of the nicotine withdrawal syndrome, precipitated in dependent mice by the injection of mecamylamine, was evaluated. Nicotine withdrawal was significantly attenuated in knock-out mutants when compared with wild-type mice. In summary, the present results show that mu-opioid receptors are involved in the rewarding responses induced by nicotine and participate in its antinociceptive responses and the expression of nicotine physical dependence.

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