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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Constitutively active micro opioid receptors mediate the enhanced conditioned aversive effect of naloxone in morphine-dependent mice.

Naloxone administration produces a robust conditioned place aversion (CPA) in opiate-naive rodents by blocking the action of enkephalins at mu opioid receptors. This aversive response is potentiated by prior exposure to morphine. In vitro studies indicate that morphine treatment may promote constitutive activity of mu opioid receptors. We hypothesized that such enhanced constitutive activity in vivo may underlie the increased aversive property of naloxone by uncovering the inverse agonist property of this drug. The CPA produced by naloxone was compared with that produced by the neutral antagonists 6-alpha- and 6-beta-naloxol in mice with and without prior morphine exposure. While all three drugs produced CPA, only naloxone CPA was enhanced by morphine given 20 h prior to each naloxone injection. Furthermore, only naloxone produced withdrawal jumping when given 20 h after morphine, even though 6-alpha-naloxol was able to produce jumping when given 4 h after morphine. These data suggest that morphine may enhance naloxone CPA by increasing levels of constitutively active mu receptors and further support the role of such constitutive activity in mediating naloxone-precipitated physical withdrawal. Such long-term changes in constitutive activity of the mu receptor induced by exogenous opiate exposure may thus be an important factor in hedonic homeostatic dysregulation proposed to underlie the addictive process.[1]


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