Baclofen prevents the elevated plus maze behavior and BDNF expression during naloxone precipitated morphine withdrawal in male and female mice

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In previous studies we have shown that baclofen, a selective GABAB receptor agonist, prevents the somatic expression and reestablishes the dopamine and μ-opioid receptors levels, modified during naloxone-precipitated morphine withdrawal syndrome in male and female mice. There are no previous reports regarding sex differences in the elevated plus maze (EPM) and the expression of BDNF in morphine-withdrawn mice. The present study analyses the behavioral and biochemical variations during morphine withdrawal in mice of both sexes, and whether these variations are prevented with baclofen. Swiss-Webster albino prepubertal mice received morphine (2 mg/kg, i.p.) twice daily, for 9 consecutive days. On the 10th day, one group of morphine-treated mice received naloxone (opioid receptor antagonist; 6 mg/kg, i.p.) 1 h after the last dose of morphine to precipitate withdrawal. A second group received baclofen (2 mg/kg, i.p.) before naloxone administration. The EPM behavior was measured during 15 min after naloxone injection. The expression of BDNF-positive cells was determined by immunohistochemistry. Withdrawn male mice showed a higher percentage of time spent and number of entries to the open arms compared to withdrawn female mice. Baclofen prevented this behavior in both sexes. BDNF expression decreased in the AcbC, BNST, CeC, and CA3 of the hippocampus while increased in the BLA of morphine withdrawn male. Baclofen pretreatment prevented the BDNF expression observed in morphine withdrawn male mice in all the brain areas studied except in the CeC. Baclofen prevention of the EPM behavior associated to morphine withdrawal could be partially related to changes in BDNF expression. Synapse, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Synapse 70:187–197, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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