Withania somnifera prevents acquisition and expression of morphine-elicited conditioned place preference

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Abstract

Previous studies have reported that some of the central effects of morphine are counteracted by the administration of the methanolic extract of the root of Indian ginseng, Withania somnifera Dunal (WSE). The present study sought to determine whether WSE affects acquisition and expression of morphine-elicited conditioned place preference (CPP) in CD-1 mice. In CPP acquisition experiments, WSE (0, 25, 50, and 100 mg/kg) was administered, during conditioning, 30 min before morphine (10 mg/kg), whereas in expression experiments, WSE (0, 25, 50, and 100 mg/kg) was administered 30 min before the postconditioning test. The results demonstrate (i) that WSE was devoid of motivational properties; (ii) that WSE (100 mg/kg) was devoid of effects on spontaneous and morphine-stimulated motor activity and on spatial memory; and (iii) that WSE (50 and 100 mg/kg) significantly prevented the acquisition and expression of CPP. Further, to characterize the receptor(s) involved in these effects, we studied, by receptor-binding assay, the affinity of WSE for µ-opioid and γ-aminobutyric acid B receptors. These experiments revealed a higher affinity of WSE for γ-aminobutyric acid B than for µ-opioid receptors. Overall, these results point to WSE as an interesting alternative tool, worthy of further investigation, to study opiate addiction.

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