Nalorphine as a stimulus in drug discrimination learning: assessment of the role of mu- and kappa-receptor subtypes

Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior
S.T. Smurthwaite, A.L. Riley


Using the conditioned taste aversion baseline of drug discrimination learning, animals were trained to discriminate nalorphine from distilled water. In subsequent generalization tests, the mu-opiate agonist morphine substituted for the nalorphine stimulus in a dose-dependent manner, while the kappa-opiate agonist U50,488H and the mu-opiate antagonists naloxone and naltrexone failed to do so. That the mu-agonist morphine substituted for the nalorphine stimulus while a kappa-agonist and mu-antagonists failed to substitute indicate that the discriminative control that was established with nalorphine in the present study was mu-agonist receptor-mediated. The basis for this selective control by the mu-receptor subtype may be related to the relative salience of receptor activity in opiate-naive animals. The present results suggest that discriminative control by compounds with activity at multiple receptor sites is not uniformly mediated by specific activity at all of those sites. The specific site mediating discriminative control appears to be a function of the specific training drug.


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Related Concepts

Antinociceptive Agents
Discrimination Learning
Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
Generalization, Stimulus
Nalorphine, L-tartrate (1: 1)
Naloxone, (5 beta,9 alpha,13 alpha,14 alpha)-Isomer

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