Effects of the opioid antagonist naltrexone on feeding induced by DAMGO in the ventral tegmental area and in the nucleus accumbens shell region in the rat

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Abstract

The nucleus accumbens shell region (sNAcc) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are two major nodes in the mesolimbic dopamine pathway, which mediates reward for various survival behaviors, including feeding. Opioids increase and maintain food intake when injected peripherally and centrally. Opioids in the VTA cause increased release of dopamine in the sNAcc, and when injected into either site, cause an increase in food intake. Animals in this study were double cannulated in the VTA and in the sNAcc and injected with various combinations of naltrexone (NTX) (2.5, 5, and 25 μg/side) and Tyr-D-Ala-Gly-(Me)Phe-Gly-ol (DAMGO) (0.1, 0.3, 1, 3, and 5 nmol/side) in both sites. DAMGO was found to dose dependently increase intake to an equal extent when injected into either site. DAMGO-induced increases in food intake when injected into the VTA were blocked to control levels with the highest dose of NTX injected bilaterally into the sNAcc; however, increases in intake when injected into the sNAcc were blocked only partially by the highest dose of NTX injected bilaterally into the VTA. These results indicate opioid-opioid communication between the two sites; however, the communication may be quite indirect, requiring other sites and transmitters to elicit a change in behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R999-R1004
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Volume285
Issue number5 54-5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2003

Keywords

  • Food intake
  • Mesolimbic
  • Microinjection
  • Reward

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