Altered nucleus accumbens circuitry mediates pain-induced antinociception in morphine-tolerant rats

Brian L. Schmidt, Claudia H. Tambeli, Justine Barletta, Lei Luo, Paul Green, Jon D. Levine, Robert W. Gear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We investigated the effect of chronic administration of morphine on noxious stimulus-induced antinociception (NSIA) produced by intraplantar capsaicin injection. In the untreated (naïve) rat, we previously found that NSIA depends on activation of dopamine, nicotinic acetylcholine, and μ and δ-opioid receptors in nucleus accumbens. Rats chronically implanted with subcutaneous morphine pellets demonstrated tolerance to the antinociceptive effects of acute systemic morphine administration but did not show cross-tolerance to NSIA. Morphine pretreatment, however, significantly reduced NSIA dependence on intra-accumbens opioid receptors but not on dopamine or nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. As observed in naïve rats, intra-accumbens microinjection of either the dopamine receptor antagonist flupentixol or the nicotinic receptor antagonist mecamylamine blocked NSIA in rats tolerant to the antinociceptive effects of morphine, but, in contrast to naïve rats, intra-accumbens microinjection of either the μ-receptor antagonist Cys2,Tyr3,Orn5,Pen7 amide or the δ-receptor antagonist naltrindole failed to block NSIA. These findings suggest that although NSIA is dependent on nucleus accumbens opioid receptors in the naïve state, this dependence disappears in rats tolerant to the antinociceptive effects of morphine, which may account for the lack of NSIA cross-tolerance. In separate experiments, intra-accumbens extracellular dopamine levels were measured using microdialysis. Dopamine levels increased after either capsaicin or systemic morphine administration in naïve rats but only after capsaicin administration in morphine pretreated rats. Thus, intra-accumbens dopamine release paralleled antinociceptive responses in naïve and morphine pretreated rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6773-6780
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume22
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2002

Keywords

  • Analgesia
  • Antinociception
  • Capsaicin
  • Dopamine release
  • Jaw-opening reflex
  • Microdialysis
  • Morphine
  • Noxious stimulation
  • Nucleus accumbens
  • Pain
  • Tolerance
  • δ opioid receptors
  • μ opioid receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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