Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF)-induced disruption of attention in rats is blocked by the κ-opioid receptor antagonist JDTic

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2012 Dec;37(13):2809-16. doi: 10.1038/npp.2012.151. Epub 2012 Sep 5.


Stress often disrupts behavior and can lead to psychiatric illness. Considerable evidence suggests that corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) plays an important role in regulating the effects of stress. CRF administration produces stress-like effects in humans and laboratory animals, and CRF levels are elevated in individuals with stress-related illness. Recent work indicates that κ-opioid receptor (KOR) antagonists can block CRF effects, raising the possibility that at least some of the effects of stress are mediated via KORs. Here we examined the effects of CRF on performance in the 5-choice serial reaction time task (5CSRTT), a test used to quantify attention in rodents, as well as functional interactions between CRF and KORs. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained in the 5CSRTT and then each was implanted with an intracerebroventricular (ICV) cannula. After recovery and restabilization of performance, they received a single intraperitoneal (IP) injection of vehicle or JDTic (10 mg/kg), a KOR antagonist with long-lasting (>14 days) effects. In subsequent sessions, rats received ICV infusions of CRF (0.25-1.0 μg) or vehicle and were tested 60 min later. CRF dose-dependently disrupted performance as reflected by decreases in correct responding, increases in omission errors, increases in latencies to respond correctly, and increases in time to complete the session. JDTic attenuated each of these CRF-induced deficits while having no effects on its own. The persistent ability of JDTic to disrupt KOR function was confirmed using the tail immersion assay. These findings indicate that KOR antagonists can prevent acute stress-related effects that degrade performance in tasks requiring attention.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / drug effects*
  • Attention / physiology
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / administration & dosage*
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Male
  • Narcotic Antagonists / administration & dosage*
  • Piperidines / administration & dosage*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa / physiology
  • Tetrahydroisoquinolines / administration & dosage*


  • 7-hydroxy-N-(1-((4-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-3,4-dimethyl-1-piperidinyl)methyl)-2-methylpropyl)-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-3-isoquinolinecarboxamide
  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Piperidines
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa
  • Tetrahydroisoquinolines
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone