The role of nitric oxide within the nucleus accumbens on the acquisition and expression of morphine-induced place preference in morphine sensitized rats

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Abstract

In the present study, the effects of intra-accumbal administration of l-arginine, a nitric oxide precursor, and NG-nitro-l-arginine methyl-ester (l-NAME), a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, on the acquisition and expression of morphine-induced place conditioning in morphine-sensitized rats were studied. Subcutaneous (s.c.) administration of morphine (2.5, 5 and 7.5 mg/kg) induced conditioned place preference. Repeated pretreatment of morphine (5 mg/kg, i.p.) followed by 5 days without drug treatment, increased conditioning response induced by morphine (0.25, 0.5 and 0.75 mg/kg). Intra-accumbal (intra-nucleus accumbens; 1 μg/rat) administration of l-arginine (0.3, 1 and 3 μg/rat) significantly increased or reduced the acquisition of morphine place conditioning in non-sensitized and sensitized rats respectively. However, the drug reduced expression of place conditioning by morphine in sensitized animals. Intra-nucleus accumbens injections of l-NAME (0.3, 1 and 3 μg/rat) reduced the acquisition and expression of morphine place conditioning in the sensitized animals. The results indicate that nitric oxide (NO) within the nucleus accumbens is involved in the acquisition and expression of morphine place conditioning in morphine-sensitized rats.

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