Involvement of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis activated by the central nucleus of the amygdala in the negative affective component of morphine withdrawal in rats

Neuroscience. 2005;134(1):9-19. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2005.03.029.


The central nucleus of the amygdala (Ce) and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BST) are key structures of the extended amygdala, which is suggested to be involved in drug addiction and reward. We have previously reported that the Ce plays a crucial role in the negative affective component of morphine withdrawal. In the present study, we examined the involvement of the neural pathway between the Ce and the BST in the negative affective component of morphine withdrawal in rats. Rats were rendered morphine dependent by s.c. implantation of a 75-mg morphine pellet for 3 days, and morphine withdrawal was precipitated by an i.p. injection of naloxone (0.3 mg/kg). In the place-conditioning paradigm, discrete bilateral excitotoxic lesions of the Ce or the BST significantly reduced naloxone-precipitated morphine withdrawal-induced conditioned place aversion. On the other hand, they had little effect on morphine withdrawal-induced somatic signs. In an immunohistochemical study for c-Fos protein, naloxone-precipitated morphine withdrawal dramatically induced c-Fos-immunoreactive neurons in the capsular part of the Ce, and the lateral and medial divisions of the BST. Bilateral excitotoxic lesion of the Ce reduced the number of morphine withdrawal-induced c-Fos-immunoreactive neurons in the lateral and medial BST, with significant decreases in the posterior, ventral and juxtacapsular parts of lateral division, and anterior part of the medial division, but not in the ventral part of the medial division of the BST. On the other hand, bilateral excitotoxic lesion of the BST had no effect on such c-Fos induction within the capsular part, nor the ventral and medial divisions of the Ce. These results suggest that activation of the BST mediated through the neural pathway from the Ce contributes to the negative affective component of morphine withdrawal.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / injuries
  • Amygdala / metabolism
  • Amygdala / pathology
  • Amygdala / physiopathology*
  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Cell Count / methods
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology
  • Drug Interactions
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Male
  • Morphine / adverse effects
  • Morphine Dependence / etiology
  • Morphine Dependence / physiopathology*
  • N-Methylaspartate / toxicity
  • Naloxone / pharmacology
  • Narcotic Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Septal Nuclei / injuries
  • Septal Nuclei / pathology
  • Septal Nuclei / physiopathology*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / physiopathology*


  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Naloxone
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Morphine