Suppression of deprivation-induced food and water intake in rats and mice by naloxone

David R. Brown, Stephen G. Holtzman

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250 Scopus citations


Naloxone, an opiate antagonist, was administered to male and female rats and male mice after periods of food or water deprivation ranging from 12 to 48 hr. Naloxone (0.01-10 mg/kg) reduced postdeprivational water intake in most groups of rats and mice in a dose-related manner. Naloxone suppression of water consumption appeared to be independent of sexual differences in rats, and phase of the diurnal cycle, and length of the deprivation interval in both rats and mice. Postdeprivational food intake in male rats and mice was also reduced by naloxone in a dose-dependent fashion. This naloxone effect was less pronounced than actions observed with water intake, and tended to diminish with lengthening food deprivation periods. In general, mice appeared to be less sensitive than rats to naloxone suppression of food and water intake. Naloxone appears to markedly reduce appetitive behavior, particularly water intake, following deprivation in both rats and mice. The fact that low doses of naloxone can elicit these effects suggests that the drug is acting at specific tissue sites, possibly endorphin receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-573
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1979

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
~A preliminary report of this investigation was presented at the 63rd annual meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and appears in Fedn. Proc. 38: 856, 1979. eThis investigation was supported in part by USPHS Grants TO-I-GM-00179, DA-00541, and by Research Scientist Development Award KO-2-DA-00008 to S.G.H.


  • Appetitive behavior Narcotic antagonist
  • Endorphin
  • Food deprivation
  • Food intake
  • Naloxone
  • Water intake


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