Nociceptin inhibits acquisition of amphetamine-induced place preference and sensitization to stereotypy in rats

Eur J Pharmacol. 2003 Aug 8;474(2-3):233-9. doi: 10.1016/s0014-2999(03)02081-8.


Nociceptin (also called orphanin FQ), a 17-amino-acid peptide, is the natural ligand of the nociceptin opioid peptide (NOP) receptor. This peptide shows similarities, in its structure, to opioid peptides, mainly to dynorphin A. However, unlike opioid peptides, it does not produce a conditioned place preference or aversion but inhibits rewarding effect of drugs of abuse. The present study was designed to examine the ability of nociceptin to block the acquisition of amphetamine-induced place preference, and the development of amphetamine-induced sensitization to stereotypy in rats. Our experiments indicated that repeated administration of nociceptin at increasing doses during conditioning significantly attenuated the reinforcing effect of amphetamine in conditioned place preference paradigm. Nociceptin did not change the acute effect of amphetamine-induced stereotypy but prevented the development of sensitization to stereotypy measured on the challenge day. Our results suggest the involvement of nociceptin in long-lasting neuronal adaptation after repeated amphetamine treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Amphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Psychological / drug effects*
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology
  • Male
  • Opioid Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Stereotyped Behavior / drug effects*
  • Stereotyped Behavior / physiology


  • Opioid Peptides
  • nociceptin
  • Amphetamine