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Eur J Pharmacol. 1991 Dec 17;209(3):163-8.

Behavioural effects of deltorphins in rats.

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Institute of Medical Pharmacology, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


When given i.c.v. in rats deltorphins induced a syndrome of behavioural stimulation consisting of increased locomotion rearing and sniffing. The increased locomotor activity and rearing were dose-related over the range of 0.13 to 3.8 nmol/rat for [D-Ala2]deltorphin II (DADELT II) and 1.04 to 20.8 nmol/rat for deltorphin. The delta-selective antagonist, naltrindole (10 mg/kg i.p.), completely abolished the behavioural stimulation induced by 1.3 nmol/rat of DADELT II and shifted the dose-response curve to the right, without decreasing the maximum effect. The mu-preferring antagonist, naloxone, was able to antagonize the DADELT II-induced locomotor activity but only at very high doses (10 and 20 mg/kg i.p.). The i.v. administration of a large dose (10 mg/kg) of the mu 1-selective antagonist, naloxonazine, did not affect the DADELT II response. At doses up to 38 nmol/rat, the i.c.v. injection of DADELT II never induced analgesia. At doses over 20.8 nmol/rat, deltorphin always induced spontaneous controlateral barrel rotations and circling, responses which were not blocked by prior administration of naloxone or haloperidol. In studies performed on the social behaviour of rats, i.c.v. administration of 0.38 nmol/rat of DADELT II was ineffective, while 1.3 nmol/rat increased the number of social contacts. Regression analysis showed that the increase in social contacts was a primary effect of the peptide, not correlated with the increased locomotor activity.

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