Influence of buprenorphine, butorphanol and nalbuphine on the initiation of intravenous cocaine self-administration in drug naive mice
Kuzmin AV, Gerrits MA, Zvartau EE, van Ree JM
Laboratory of Pharmacology of Narcotics,
Pavlov Medical University,
St.-Petersburg, Russia
Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2000 Dec 1;10(6):447-454


TThe influence of different mixed mu-kappa-opioid receptor agonists-antagonists on cocaine reinforcement was studied using the method of initiation of intravenous cocaine self-administration in naive mice. Self-administration of cocaine was readily initiated according to an inverted U-shaped unit dose-response curve. Buprenorphine, butorphanol and nalbuphine tested against the optimal unit dose of cocaine (0.8 mug per infusion), inhibited initiation of cocaine self-administration in a dose-dependent manner. When tested against a scale of cocaine unit doses (0.2 -1.6 mug per infusion) buprenorphine (0.1 mg/kg, s.c.) and nalbuphine (2 mg/kg, s.c.) produced a shift of the optimal cocaine dose from 0.8 to 0.4 mug/inf, while butorphanol (1 mg/kg, s.c.) shifted the optimal unit dose of cocaine to the right along the cocaine unit doses axis. Co-administration of naloxone (0.1 mg/kg, s.c.) significantly reduced the effect of buprenorphine but failed to influence the effect of nalbuphine and butorphanol on cocaine intake. Taken together, these results suggest that nalbuphine is capable of affecting cocaine's reinforcing properties in the same manner as buprenorphine during the initiation phase of cocaine self-administration behavior, while butorphanol causes the opposite effect. Although the exact opioid profile of action of the mixed opioid receptor agonists-antagonists is as yet not precisely known, the present findings suggest that multiple opioid receptor systems (i.e. mu and kappa) play a role in reinforcing properties of cocaine and that a co-operative interaction between mu- and kappa-opioid systems may be of importance during initiation of cocaine self-administration.

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