The neurobiology of opiate reinforcement

Crit Rev Neurobiol. 1998;12(4):267-303. doi: 10.1615/critrevneurobiol.v12.i4.10.


This article provides a basic introduction into two commonly used behavioral paradigms used for the assessment of the reinforcing and rewarding effects of drugs in experimental animals. Behavioral as well as neurochemical data regarding the neural basis of opiate reward are then critically reviewed in order to evaluate the neuroanatomical and neurochemical substrates mediating the primary and conditioned reinforcing effects of opiates as well as current hypotheses of drug-induced reward and aversion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Dopamine / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Narcotics / pharmacology*
  • Neurobiology
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / etiology
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Receptors, Opioid / classification
  • Receptors, Opioid / drug effects*
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Reward
  • Serotonin / pharmacology


  • Narcotics
  • Receptors, Opioid
  • Serotonin
  • Dopamine