, Volume 113, Issue 3–4, pp 422–428 | Cite as

Aversive properties of theκ opioid agonist U50,488 in the week-old rat pup

  • Gordon A. Barr
  • Shaoning Wang
  • Susan Carden
Original Investigations


μ Opioids have been shown to produce analgesia and to be reinforcing during the first week of life in the rat. κ Opioids also have analgesic actions in both the infant and adult, but can be aversive in the mature animal. We examined the aversive effects of the κ opioid agonist U50,488 during the first postnatal week in the rat pup in three ways. In the first experiment, U50,488, injected peripherally (1.0–30.0 mg/kg), was paired with an odor and pups were tested 8 h later for positional preference for avoidance of that odor. This task is similar to conditioned preference/aversion tests used with adult animals. Both 3- and 7-day-old pups learned to avoid the odor adulterated side at the two higher doses. When exposed to odors previously associated with U50,488, pups at both ages decreased locomotor activity. In a second experiment, acute treatment with U50,488 increased ultrasonic distress vocalizations (USV) equally at 3 and 7 days of age, increased locomotor activity, and decreased rectal temperature. Neither of the latter two effects was correlated with the increase in USV production. The third experiment showed that conditioned odor cues increased USV 8 h later in 3- and 7-day-old pups at 1.0–10.0 mg/kg without changes in activity or rectal temperature. The results from these studies suggest that U50,488 can produce aversions in the neonatal rat pup as it does in the adult.

Key words

Opiates κ Opioids U50,488 Conditioned aversion Ultrasonic vocalization Distress vocalization Development Ontogeny 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon A. Barr
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shaoning Wang
    • 1
  • Susan Carden
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Developmental PsychobiologyNew York State Psychiatric InstituteNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyHunter College of the City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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