, Volume 113, Issue 1, pp 131–136

β-adrenergic antagonists attenuate withdrawal anxiety in cocaine-and morphine-dependent rats

  • Glenda C. Harris
  • Gary Aston-Jones
Original Investigations

DOI: 10.1007/BF02244345

Cite this article as:
Harris, G.C. & Aston-Jones, G. Psychopharmacology (1993) 113: 131. doi:10.1007/BF02244345


Rats were treated chronically with either cocaine (20 mg/kg/day, 14 days), morphine (incrementing doses of 10 mg/kg/day to 80 mg/kg, 11 days) or saline. During morphine or cocaine abstinence (48 h), dependent rats showed increased anxiety-like behavior in a conditioned defensive burying paradigm as evidenced by significantly shorter latencies to begin burying as well as a 4-fold increase in burying duration relative to salinetreated animals. This withdrawal-induced increase in burying behavior was blocked by pretreatment with either the β-adrenergic antagonist propranolol (5 mg/kg) or the lipophobic selective β1-antagonist, atenolol (5 mg/kg). These results are consistent with the possibility that activation of peripheral β1 receptors may substantially contribute to withdrawal-induced anxiety and that β-adrenergic antagonists could be useful in treating in cocaine and morphine dependent addicts.

Key words

Conditioned defensive burying Morphine dependence Withdrawal Cocaine Beta-adrenergic antagonists Propranolol Atenolol 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenda C. Harris
    • 1
  • Gary Aston-Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mental Health SciencesHahnemann UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA