, Volume 86, Issue 3, pp 274–280 | Cite as

Motivational properties of kappa and mu opioid receptor agonists studied with place and taste preference conditioning

  • Ronald F. Mucha
  • Albert Herz
Original Investigations


The reinforcing properties of various opioid agonists acting preferentially on the kappa and mu opioid receptors were assessed using taste and place preference conditioning procedures.

Kappa receptor agonists produced conditioned aversions. Taste aversions were produced by all of the drugs used, including racemic mixtures of ethylketazocine, tifluadom, and U50-488, and active isomers (+)-tifluadom, (-)-bremazocine, and Mr 2034; corresponding inactive isomers either produced no effect of were less potent. Place aversions were produced by U50-488 and (-)-bremazocine, but not (+)-bremazocine or any of the other kappa receptor agonists tested with the taste procedure. The mu agonists produced predominantly conditioned preferences. Place preferences were produced by morphine, fentanyl and sufentanil. Taste preferences were produced by low doses of these substances; at higher doses the taste preferences were absent or replaced by aversions. Finally, with naloxone and lithium chloride it was shown that the taste procedure was more sensitive to punishing effects than the place procedure.

It is concluded that kappa and mu opioid receptor agonists are effective unconditioned stimuli. From the lower portions of the dose response curves it is further concluded that activation of kappa opioid receptors has aversive properties and activation of mu receptors appetitive reinforcing properties. The findings are also discussed with regard to the prevailing notions of taste conditioning with opiates, and the reinforcing properties of activity of the endogenous opioid peptide systems.

Key words

Mu opioid receptor agonists Kappa receptor agonists Naloxone Lithium chloride Stereospecificity Conditioned taste aversion Conditioned place preference 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald F. Mucha
    • 1
  • Albert Herz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeuropharmacologyMax-Planck-Institut für PsychiatriePlanegg-MartinsriedFRG

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