Naloxone disrupts the expression but not the acquisition by male rats of a conditioned place preference response for an oestrous female

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1990;101(1):118-25. doi: 10.1007/BF02253728.


Two experiments were conducted to investigate the possible role of endogenous opioid peptides in the regulation of masculine sexual reward. In experiment 1 sexually experienced male rats, which had recently been castrated or left gonadally intact, were allowed to mate with an oestrous female in an initially "non-preferred" chamber of a test apparatus. On alternate days these males were placed alone in the initially "preferred" chamber of the same apparatus. After eight such conditioning sessions both intact and castrated males had acquired a conditioned place preference (CPP) for the initially "non-preferred" chamber whereas control males, which were never given access to an oestrous female, showed no evidence of a significant shift in their preference for either chamber. Administration of the opioid receptor antagonist, naloxone (1 or 5 mg/kg, SC) prior to each conditioning session had no significant influence on the acquisition of a CPP for an oestrous female. By contrast, in experiment 2 naloxone treatment significantly attenuated the expression of a previously established CPP for an oestrous female in both gonadally intact and castrated males. The results suggest that opioid components of neural reward circuits are normally activated in the male rat by conditioned incentive stimuli, but not by the primary rewarding stimuli associated with access to and mating with an oestrous female.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects*
  • Estrus / physiology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Naloxone / pharmacology*
  • Rats


  • Naloxone