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Pentylenetetrazol-like stimulus is not produced following naloxone-precipitated mitragynine withdrawal in rats

Lookup NU author(s): NORSYIFA HARUN, Dr Mohammed Shoaib


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© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. Rationale: Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth), a native medicinal plant of Southeast Asia, is proposed to exhibit potential therapeutic value as an opioid substitute. However, studies of its negative emotional states resulting from withdrawal particularly of its main psychoactive compound, mitragynine (MG), are limited. Objectives: Using the pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) discrimination assay, this study aims to investigate the effects of MG in responding to the PTZ stimulus and to assess the generalisation effects of withdrawal from MG to the PTZ stimulus. Methods: Rats (n = 20) were trained on a tandem (FR-10, VI-15) schedule of food reinforcement to press one lever after administration of the anxiogenic compound PTZ (16 mg/kg, i.p.) and an alternate lever after vehicle. Following acute tests, training was suspended, and rats were chronically treated with MG or morphine at 8-h intervals for 9 days and withdrawal was precipitated on the tenth day using naloxone (1 mg/kg, i.p.). The rats were tested for generalisation to PTZ at 2, 8 and 24 h after the last dose of MG or morphine administration. Results: Unlike morphine that produced dose-related PTZ-like stimulus, MG at 3, 10, 30 and 45 mg/kg doses showed no substitution to the PTZ discriminative stimulus. In contrast to morphine which produced a time-dependent generalisation to the PTZ stimulus, naloxone did not precipitate withdrawal effects in MG-treated rats as they selected the vehicle lever at three withdrawal time points. Conclusion: These results demonstrate that MG produces a very different response to morphine withdrawal that is not associated with anxiogenic-like subjective symptoms. These characteristics of MG may provide further support for use as a novel pharmacotherapeutic intervention for managing opioid use disorder.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Johari IS, Harun N, Sofian ZM, Shoaib M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Psychopharmacology

Year: 2021

Volume: 238

Pages: 3183-3191

Online publication date: 01/08/2021

Acceptance date: 08/07/2021

ISSN (print): 0033-3158

ISSN (electronic): 1432-2072

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1007/s00213-021-05934-4


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