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d-ala2-methionine-enkephalinamide self-administration in the morphine-dependent rat

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The self-administration of d-enkephalin was studied in the dependent rat self-administering morphine. The rats were prepared with chronic IV and bilateral intraventricular (IVT) injection cannulae. They were made physically dependent on morphine and trained to lever press for IV morphine self-injections (inj) (10 mg/kg) on a fixed ratio (20) (FR20) schedule of reinforcement. Substitution of d-enkephalin either IVT. (40 μg/inj) or IV (10 mg/kg/inj) in the morphinedependent rat maintained consistent lever pressing and self-administration.behavior similar to morphine self-administration. No signs of abstinence were observed during the d-enkephalin substitution. However, saline substitution (0,05 ml/inj IV) for morphine in the self-administering rat produced an abstinence syndrome characterized by extinction of responding, wet-dog shakes, writhes, and diarrhea, which were reversed for 1 h by a single IVT injection of d-enkephalin (40 or 80 μg). These results indicate that d-enkephalin will serve as a reinforcer to maintain opiate-seeking behavior and support physical dependence in the rat.

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Correspondence to J. Edward Moreton.

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Tortella, F.C., Edward Moreton, J. d-ala2-methionine-enkephalinamide self-administration in the morphine-dependent rat. Psychopharmacology 69, 143–147 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00427640

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Key words

  • Enkephalin
  • Morphine
  • Self-administration
  • Narcotic
  • Drug-reinforcement behavior