Increased food and water intake produced in rats by opiate receptor agonists
- Cite this article as:
- Sanger, D.J. & McCarthy, P.S. Psychopharmacology (1981) 74: 217. doi:10.1007/BF00427097
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It has been suggested that endogenous opiate mechanisms may be involved in the physiological control of food and water intake. Support for this hypothesis has been obtained from studies of the effects of narcotic antagonists which reduce feeding and drinking, but it is also necessary to show that food and water intake can be facilitated by opiate agonists. In the present study the food intake of freely-feeding rats was increased by subcutaneous injections of morphine, a stabilised enkephalin analogue (RX 783030), and ethylketocyclazocine. Water intake was also increased but this effect was more variable than the increased eating. The increased food intake produced by the putative mu receptor agonists morphine and RX 783030 was blocked by a dose of naloxone which did not affect the facilitation of eating produced by ethylketocyclazocine, which may act at a separate population of receptors known as kappa receptors. These data are consistent with the possibility that opiate receptors are involved in the control of feeding and drinking.