Opioid receptors mediate the acquisition, but not the expression of mitragynine-induced conditioned place preference in rats

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Mitragynine is the main psychoactive ingredient of the herbal drug preparation Kratom (Ketum), derived from the plant Mitragyna speciosa. Kratom is a widely abused drug in Southeast Asian and has a psychostimulant profile at low-medium doses, while high doses have opioidergic effects. Mitragynine was shown to possess opiate receptor affinity. However, its role in the behavioural effects of mitragynine is unclear. Here we asked whether the reinforcing effects of mitragynine are mediated by opiate receptors using a conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm in rats. In the first experiment we tested the effects of the opiate receptor antagonist naloxone (0.1, 0.3 and 1.0 mg/kg) on the acquisition of mitragynine (10 mg/kg)-induced CPP. In the second experiment, we tested the involvement of opiate receptors in the expression of mitragynine-induced CPP in rats. We found that naloxone suppresses the acquisition of mitragynine-induced CPP. This effect was already evident at a dose of naloxone (0.1 mg/kg) which, by itself, had no conditioned place aversion (CPA) effect. Higher doses of naloxone induced a CPA and blocked mitragynine-induced CPP. In contrast, naloxone had no effect on the expression of mitragynine-induced CPP. These findings suggest that the acquisition, but not the expression of the reinforcing effects of mitragynine is mediated by opiate receptors.HighlightsMitragynine is the main psychoactive ingredient of Kratom (Ketum).Kratom has an addiction potential and is widely abused in Southeast Asia.Mitrgaynine induces conditioned place preference (CPP) in rats.CPP acquisition, but not expression is blocked by naloxone, an opiate antagonist.The reinforcing action of mitragynine is opiate receptor dependent.

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