Effects of the delta-opioid receptor agonist SNC80 on learning relative to its antidepressant-like effects in rats

Behav Pharmacol. 2003 Nov;14(7):509-16. doi: 10.1097/00008877-200311000-00003.


Delta-opioid receptor agonists produce decreases in immobility in the forced swim test, suggesting that these compounds have antidepressant-like activity. There is also the possibility that these compounds decrease immobility in the forced swim test by disrupting learning processes that occur during the swim, or with successive swim exposures, thus falsely identifying them as having "antidepressant" potential. This study investigated the effects of the delta-opioid receptor agonist, SNC80, on responding in a repeated-acquisition procedure and in the forced swim test in rats, and the effects were compared directly to those of scopolamine, a compound known to disrupt memory and learning. SNC80 disrupted acquisition of a response sequence (learning) and produced a significant antidepressant-like effect in the forced swim test. Scopolamine, however, produced larger decrements in learning without producing behavioral changes consistent with an antidepressant-like profile of action. These results suggest that SNC80 produces antidepressant-like activity through a mechanism independent of its disruptive effects on learning.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Benzamides / pharmacology*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Color Perception / drug effects
  • Discrimination Learning / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Escape Reaction / drug effects*
  • Helplessness, Learned*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / drug effects
  • Motivation*
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Muscarinic Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Piperazines / pharmacology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Opioid, delta / agonists*
  • Scopolamine / pharmacology
  • Swimming


  • Benzamides
  • Muscarinic Antagonists
  • Piperazines
  • Receptors, Opioid, delta
  • 4-(alpha-(4-allyl-2,5-dimethyl-1-piperazinyl)-3-methoxybenzyl)-N,N-diethylbenzamide
  • Scopolamine