Blockade of nucleus accumbens opiate receptors attenuates intravenous heroin reward in the rat

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1985;86(1-2):37-42. doi: 10.1007/BF00431681.


A quaternary derivative of naloxone, methyl naloxonium chloride (MN), was administered intracerebrally to rats trained to self-administer heroin intravenously. Increases in intravenous (IV) heroin self-administration rates were found following injections of low doses of MN into the nucleus accumbens (N.Acc), but not following injections of low doses of MN into the ventral tegmental area (VTA). These results were interpreted to suggest that the rewarding properties of IV heroin were decreased following N.Acc opiate receptor blockade. The relative insensitivity of the VTA to MN treatment was taken to suggest that VTA opiate receptors are either not essential or play a secondary role in mediating IV heroin self-administration. The present data support the notion that post-synaptic N.Acc opiate receptors play a crucial role in maintaining IV heroin self-administration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Heroin / pharmacology
  • Heroin Dependence / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Naloxone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / drug effects
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiopathology*
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Opioid / drug effects
  • Receptors, Opioid / physiology*
  • Septal Nuclei / physiopathology*


  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Receptors, Opioid
  • Naloxone
  • Heroin
  • N-methylnaloxone