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Neuroreport. 2004 Mar 22;15(4):727-30.

Low dose of heroin inhibits drug-seeking elicited by cues after prolonged withdrawal from heroin self-administration in rats.

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Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience, Ningbo Addiction Research and Treatment Center, 42 Xibei Str., Ningbo 315010, PR China.


Environmental stimuli and conditioned cues associated with heroin can induce drug-seeking behavior, but how heroin lapse interacts with cues is unclear. Rats were trained to nose-poke for i.v. heroin for 14 days and then tested for heroin seeking after withdrawal from heroin self-administration. Heroin seeking induced by cues persisted over several weeks after withdrawal, and the responding was not easily extinguished after 4 weeks withdrawal. A single injection of heroin (250 micro g/kg) enhanced the responding at early stage of withdrawal, but a low dose of heroin (50, 250 micro g/kg) suppressed the responding induced by contextual or conditioned cues at 4 weeks of withdrawal. The results suggest that prolonged withdrawal may increase the risk of relapse to heroin seeking.

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