The effect of morphine sensitization on extracellular concentrations of GABA in dorsal hippocampus of male rats


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Abstract

Repeated, intermittent exposure to drugs of abuse, such as morphine results in response enhancements to subsequent drug treatments, a phenomenon referred to as behavioral sensitization. As persistent neuronal sensitization may contribute to the long-lasting consequences of drug abuse, characterizing the neurochemical mechanisms of sensitization is providing insights into addiction. Although it has been shown that GABAergic systems in the CA1 region of dorsal hippocampus are involved in morphine sensitization, the alteration of extracellular level of GABA in this area in morphine sensitization has not been investigated. In the present study, using the in vivo microdialysis technique, we investigated the effect of morphine sensitization on extracellular GABA concentration in CA1 region of dorsal hippocampus of freely moving rats. Sensitization was induced by subcutaneous (s.c.) injection of morphine, once daily for 3 days followed by 5 days free of the opioid treatment. The results showed that extracellular GABA concentration in CA1 was decreased following acute administration of morphine in non-sensitized rats. However, morphine-induced behavioral sensitization significantly increased the extracellular GABA concentration in this area. The enhancement of GABA in morphine sensitized rats was inhibited by administration of naloxone 30 min before each of three daily doses of morphine. These results suggest an adaptation of the GABAergic neuronal transmission in dorsal hippocampus induced by morphine sensitization and it is implied that opioid receptors may play an important role in this effect.

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