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Neuropharmacology. 2007 Mar;52(3):895-903. Epub 2006 Nov 28.

Pharmacological and genetic manipulation of kappa opioid receptors: effects on cocaine- and pentylenetetrazol-induced convulsions and seizure kindling.

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Integrative Neuroscience Section, Behavioral Neuroscience Branch, NIH/NIDA Intramural Research Program, 5500 Nathan Shock Drive, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


The present study used pharmacological and gene ablation techniques to examine the involvement of kappa opioid receptors (KOPr) in modulating the convulsant effects of two mechanistically different drugs: cocaine and pentylenetetrazol (PTZ; GABA-A receptor antagonist) in mice. Systemic administration of the selective KOPr-1 agonist, U69593 (0.16-0.6mg/kg; s.c.), failed to modify cocaine-evoked convulsions or cocaine kindling. Similarly, no alteration in responsiveness to cocaine was observed in wild-type mice that received the selective KOPr-1 antagonist, nor-binaltorphimine (nor-BNI; 5mg/kg) or in mice lacking the gene encoding KOPr-1. In contrast to cocaine, U69593 attenuated the seizures induced by acute or repeated PTZ administration. Nor-BNI decreased the threshold for PTZ-evoked seizures and increased seizure incidence during the initial induction of kindling relative to controls. Decreased thresholds for PTZ-induced seizures were also observed in KOPr-1 knock out mice. Together, these data demonstrate an involvement of endogenous KOPr systems in modulating vulnerability to the convulsant effects of PTZ but not cocaine. Furthermore, they demonstrate that KOPr-1 activation protects against acute and kindled seizures induced by this convulsant. Finally, the results of our study suggest that KOPr-1 antagonists will not have therapeutic utility against cocaine-induced seizures, while they may prove beneficial in attenuating several actions of cocaine that have been linked to its abuse.

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