Auricular microelectrostimulation: naloxone-reversible attenuation of opiate abstinence syndrome

Biol Psychiatry. 1988 Dec;24(8):886-90. doi: 10.1016/0006-3223(88)90223-5.


This study evaluated the effects in rats of very low amplitude (10 mu amp) charge-balanced 10-Hz stimulation delivered bilaterally to low impedance points on the outer ear. This microelectrostimulation markedly and significantly reduced the number of opiate abstinence signs observed following a week of continuous morphine infusion. This effect was prevented by subcutaneous injection of 3 mg/kg naloxone, suggesting that stimulation of endogenous opioid activity plays a major role in the actions of auricular microelectrostimulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Ear, External / innervation*
  • Electric Stimulation*
  • Male
  • Morphine / toxicity*
  • Morphine Dependence / physiopathology*
  • Naloxone / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Opioid / drug effects
  • Receptors, Opioid / physiology*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / physiopathology*


  • Receptors, Opioid
  • Naloxone
  • Morphine