Noradrenergic role in the self-administration of morphine or amphetamine

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1975 May-Jun;3(3):477-84. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(75)90059-3.


The role of brain noradrenergic neurons in mediating the reinforcing properties of small intravenous doses of morphine and d-amphetamine was investigated by pretreatment of rats with the norepinephrine-depleting agents diethyldithiocarbamate and U-14,624, inhibitors of dopamine-beta-hydroxylase (DBH). Such treatment prevented the reacquisition of a self-administration response (bar-press) for morphine (32 mug/kg/injection) or d-amphetamine (15 mug/kg/injection) made available on a CRF schedule. Pretreatment with a DBH inhibitor also prevented the development of a secondary (conditioned) reinforcer based on primary reinforcement assosiated with either drug. Observations indicating that the orienting reflex was intact are taken as evidence that depressant effects of the DBH inhibitors were not severe enough to disrupt the associative process. Therefore, any effect on learning does not seem sufficient to explain the present results. Thus, it is inferred that the mechanisms mediating reinforcement for both morphine and amphetamine were disrupted by the inhibition of central noradrenergic functions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Catecholamines / metabolism
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects
  • Dextroamphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Ditiocarb / pharmacology
  • Dopamine beta-Hydroxylase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Male
  • Morphine / pharmacology*
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Norepinephrine / physiology*
  • Phenylthiazolylthiourea / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Time Factors


  • Catecholamines
  • Phenylthiazolylthiourea
  • Morphine
  • Ditiocarb
  • Dopamine beta-Hydroxylase
  • Dextroamphetamine
  • Norepinephrine