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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2015 Mar;53:10-5. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.11.009. Epub 2014 Nov 16.

Improved memory for reward cues following acute buprenorphine administration in humans.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry University of Cape Town South Africa; Department of Psychology University of Toronto Canada.
2
Department of Psychiatry University of Cape Town South Africa.
3
Department of Psychiatry University of Cape Town South Africa; Department of Experimental Psychology, Utrecht University The Netherlands.
4
Department of Psychology, University of Cape Town South Africa.
5
Department of Psychology, Washington State University USA.
6
Department of Psychiatry University of Cape Town South Africa; Department of Experimental Psychology, Utrecht University The Netherlands; Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine University of Cape Town South Africa. Electronic address: j.vanhonk@uu.nl.

Abstract

In rodents, there is abundant evidence for the involvement of the opioid system in the processing of reward cues, but this system has remained understudied in humans. In humans, the happy facial expression is a pivotal reward cue. Happy facial expressions activate the brain's reward system and are disregarded by subjects scoring high on depressive mood who are low in reward drive. We investigated whether a single 0.2mg administration of the mixed mu-opioid agonist/kappa-antagonist, buprenorphine, would influence short-term memory for happy, angry or fearful expressions relative to neutral faces. Healthy human subjects (n38) participated in a randomized placebo-controlled within-subject design, and performed an emotional face relocation task after administration of buprenorphine and placebo. We show that, compared to placebo, buprenorphine administration results in a significant improvement of memory for happy faces. Our data demonstrate that acute manipulation of the opioid system by buprenorphine increases short-term memory for social reward cues.

KEYWORDS:

Happy facial expression; Opioids; Reward; Short term memory

PMID:
25569708
DOI:
10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.11.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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