Role of the kappa-opioid receptor system in stress-induced reinstatement of nicotine seeking in rats.Behav Brain Res. 2014 May 15; 265:188-97.BB
The correlation between stress and smoking is well established. The mechanisms that underlie this relationship are, however, unclear. Recent data suggest that the kappa-opioid system is involved in the mediation of negative affective states associated with stress thereby promoting drug addiction and relapse. Pharmacological treatments targeting the kappa-opioid system and this mechanism may prove to be useful therapeutics for nicotine addiction in the future.
We sought to determine whether there was a stress-specific role of the kappa-opioid system in nicotine seeking behavior.
Groups of male Long Evans rats were trained to self-administer nicotine intravenously; their operant responding for nicotine was extinguished prior to tests of reinstatement. Pretreatment with systemic injections of the kappa-opioid receptor (KOR) antagonist nor-binaltorphimine (nor-BNI) was given prior to tests of stress (systemic injections of yohimbine (YOH)) or cue-induced reinstatement of nicotine seeking. Systemic injections of the KOR agonist U50,488 were also given in a test for reinstatement of nicotine seeking.
Nor-BNI pretreatment at 1h and 24h prior to testing was able to block YOH-induced, but not cue-induced reinstatement of nicotine seeking. U50,488 reinstated nicotine seeking behavior in a dose-dependent manner.
These findings support the hypothesis that the kappa-opioid system is involved in relapse to nicotine seeking induced by stress, but not by conditioned cues. KOR antagonists such as nor-BNI may therefore be useful novel therapeutic agents for decreasing the risk of stress-induced drug relapse.