, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 137–150 | Cite as

Preferences for morphine in rats: Validation of an experimental model of dependence

  • I. P. Stolerman
  • R. Kumar
Original Investigations


Rats were induced to administer morphine to themselves by drinking solutions of it in preference to water; this behaviour was found to be a valid model of morphine dependence. Previous “passive” medication with morphine was not necessary; initial aversions for the bitter morphine solutions were converted into preferences after the rats were repeatedly given only morphine solutions to drink in order to relieve thirst. The consumption of solutions of quinine which were initially equally aversive did not increase, suggesting that the repeated pairing of a bitter taste with relief of thirst did not account for the preferences for the morphine solutions. It appeared that the post-ingestional effects of morphine provided primary reinforcement for the rats; they were able to regulate their daily intake of the drug after being injected with varying doses of it and they lost weight abruptly during enforced abstinence. There was also evidence that the bitter taste of morphine had become a secondary reinforcer for rats with established preferences.


Morphine Dependence Withdrawal Self-Administration Delayed-Reinforcement 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Akera, T., Brody, T. M.: The addiction cycle to narcotics in the rat and its relation to catecholamines. Biochem. Pharmacol. 17, 675–688 (1968).Google Scholar
  2. Beach, H. D.: Morphine addiction in rats. Canad. J. Psychol. 11, 104–112 (1957).Google Scholar
  3. Deneau, G. A.: Psychogenic dependence in monkeys, pp. 199–207. In: H. Steinberg (Ed.). Scientific Basis of Drug Dependence. London: Churchill 1969.Google Scholar
  4. Garcia, J., Ervin, F. R.: Gustatory-visceral and telereceptor-cutaneous conditioning—adaptation in internal and external milieus. Comm. Behav. Biol., Part A 1, 389–415 (1968).Google Scholar
  5. Jaffe, J. H.: Drug addiction and drug abuse, pp. 285–311. In: L. S. Goodman and A. Gilman (Eds.). The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 3rd ed. New York: Macmillan 1965.Google Scholar
  6. Johnson, L. C., Lubin, A.: On planning psychophysiological experiments: design, measurement and analysis. In: N. S. Greenfield and R. A. Sternbach (Eds.): Handbook of Psychophysiology. New York-London: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, in press.Google Scholar
  7. Kumar, R., Steinberg, H., Stolerman, I. P.: Inducing a preference for morphine in rats without premedication. Nature (Lond.) 218, 564–565 (1968).Google Scholar
  8. — — —: How rats can become dependent on morphine in the course of relieving another need, pp. 209–220. In: H. Steinberg (Ed.): Scientific Basis of Drug Dependence. London: Churchill 1969.Google Scholar
  9. Martin, W. R., Wikler, A., Eades, C. G., Pescor, F. T.: Tolerance to and physical dependence on morphine in rats. Psychopharmacologia (Berl.) 4, 247–260 (1963).Google Scholar
  10. Nichols, J. R., Davis, W. M.: Drug addiction II. Variation of addiction. J. Amer. pharm. Ass., Sci. Ed. 48, 259–262 (1959).Google Scholar
  11. Nichols, J. R., Headlee, C. P., Coppock, H. W.: Drug addition I. Addition by escape training. J. Amer. pharm. Ass. 45, 788–791 (1956).Google Scholar
  12. Schuster, C. R., Thompson, T.: Self administration of and behavioral dependence on drugs. Ann. Rev. Pharmacol. 9, 483–502 (1969).Google Scholar
  13. - Villarreal, J. E.: The experimental analysis of opioid dependence, pp. 811–828. In: D. H. Efron, J. O. Cole, J. Levine and J. R. Wittenborn (Eds.). Psychopharmacology: A review of progress, 1957–1967. U. S. Public Health Service Publication No. 1836 (1968).Google Scholar
  14. —, Woods, J. H.: The conditioned reinforcing effects of stimuli associated with morphine reinforcement. Int. J. Addict. 3, 223–230 (1968).Google Scholar
  15. Steinberg, H., Kumar, R., Kemp, I., Bartley, H.: Animal behaviour studies and some possible implications for man, pp. 29–40. In: C. W. M. Wilson (Ed.): Adolescent Drug Dependence. London: Pergamon 1968.Google Scholar
  16. Thompson, T., Ostlund, W., Jr.: Susceptibility to readdiction as a function of the addiction and withdrawal environments. J. comp. physiol. Psychol. 60, 388–392 (1965).Google Scholar
  17. —, Pickens, R.: Drug self-administration and conditioning, pp. 177–198. In: H. Steinberg (Ed.): Scientific Basis of Drug Dependence. London: Churchill 1969.Google Scholar
  18. —, Schuster, C. R.: Morphine self-administration, food-reinforced and avoidance behaviours in rhesus monkeys. Psychopharmacologia (Berl.) 5, 87–94 (1964).Google Scholar
  19. Way, E. L., Adler, T. K.: The pharmacologic implications of the fate of morphine and its surrogates. Pharmacol. Rev. 12, 383–446 (1960).Google Scholar
  20. Weeks, J. R.: Experimental morphine addiction; method for automatic intravenous injections in unrestrained rats. Science 138, 143–144 (1962).Google Scholar
  21. Wishart, J.: Growth-rate determinations in nutrition studies with the bacon pig, and their analyses. Biometrika 30, 16–28 (1938).Google Scholar
  22. Woods, J. H., Schuster, C. R.: Reinforcement properties of morphine, cocaine and SPA as a function of unit dose. Int. J. Addict. 3, 231–237 (1968).Google Scholar
  23. Wyrwicka, W.: Sensory regulation of food intake. Physiol. Behav. 4, 853–857 (1969).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. P. Stolerman
    • 1
  • R. Kumar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyUniversity College LondonUK

Personalised recommendations