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Life Sci. 1985 Mar 18;36(11):1095-105.

Hyperthermia induced by morphine administration to the VTA of the rat brain: an effect dissociable from morphine-induced reward and hyperactivity.


Morphine action at opiate receptors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the rat brain has been implicated in the production of increased locomotor activity and in morphine's rewarding properties. In the present experiments, bilateral administration of morphine (18 micrograms tapped into the tips of 28 gauge cannulae) into the VTA resulted in an increase in body temperature in rats. This effect was both reversed and blocked by a systemic injection of the opiate receptor blocker, naloxone, suggesting that it was due to morphine action at opiate receptors. The neuroleptic, pimozide, injected systemically four hours prior to morphine administration completely blocked the increased locomotor activity but had no effect on the hyperthermia. These data demonstrate that the hyperthermia was not brought about by the increased physical activity. Furthermore, these results suggest that while morphine-induced reward and increased locomotor activity may be mediated by an interaction of morphine and the ascending mesolimbic dopamine system, the hyperthermia is not. In an additional experiment, the effect of systemic injections of the central neurotransmitter receptor antagonists, scopolamine, phenoxybenzamine, and methergoline, on the hyperthermia induced by morphine in the VTA was investigated. Only the serotonin antagonist, methergoline, attenuated the hyperthermia.

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