The objective of this study was to determine whether chronic morphine exposure increased P-glycoprotein in rat brain. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with morphine, saline, or dexamethasone for 5 days. On day 6, antinociceptive effect was measured to evaluate the extent of functional tolerance to morphine. Brain P-glycoprotein was detected by Western blot analysis of whole brain homogenate. Morphine- and dexamethasone-treated rats exhibited decreased antinociceptive response when compared to saline-treated controls. Brain P-glycoprotein was approximately 2-fold higher in morphine-treated rats compared to saline controls based on Western blot analysis. Chronic morphine exposure appears to increase P-glycoprotein in rat brain. P-glycoprotein induction may enhance morphine efflux from the brain, thus reducing morphine's pharmacologic activity. Induction of P-glycoprotein may be one mechanism involved in the development of morphine tolerance.