Several lines of evidence support a role for the endogenous opioid system in mediating behaviors associated with drug dependence. Specifically, recent findings suggest that the kappa-opioid receptor (KOR) may play a role in aspects of nicotine dependence, which contribute to relapse and continued tobacco smoking.
The objective of this study is to determine the involvement of the KOR in the initial behavioral responses of nicotine, nicotine reward, and nicotine withdrawal using the highly selective KOR antagonist JDTic. JDTic doses of 1, 4, 8, or 16 mg/kg were administered subcutaneously (s.c.) 18 h prior to nicotine treatment.
JDTic dose-dependently blocked acute nicotine-induced antinociception in the tail-flick but not the hot-plate test and did not significantly attenuate morphine's antinociceptive effect in either the tail-flick or hot-plate test. Furthermore, JDTic (8 and 16 mg/kg, s.c.) failed to block the expression of nicotine reward as measured by the conditioned place preference model. In contrast, JDTic and the KOR antagonist norBNI attenuated the expression of both the physical (somatic signs and hyperalgesia) and affective (anxiety-related behavior and conditioned place aversion) nicotine withdrawal signs.
Our findings clearly show that the KOR is involved in mediating the withdrawal aspects of nicotine dependence. The results from this study suggest that blockade of the KOR by selective KOR antagonists may be useful smoking cessation pharmacotherapies.
Effect of the selective kappa-opioid receptor antagonist JDTic on nicotine antinociception, reward, and withdrawal in the mouse