Antagonist treatment in nucleus accumbens or periaqueductal grey affects heroin self-administration

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1988 Jun;30(2):443-50. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(88)90478-9.


The role of opiate receptors in the periaqueductal grey and nucleus accumbens in maintenance of intravenous heroin self-administration was examined by means of intracranial microinjections of the quaternary opiate antagonist methyl naltrexone. Over a dose range of 0-3.0 micrograms, pre-session infusions of methyl naltrexone in either brain site produced dose-related increases in responding for heroin (0.06 mg/kg/infusion) on a CRF schedule, without causing significant changes in responding on a second activity control lever. Involvement of the periaqueductal grey was also examined in animals administering a lower heroin dose (0.03 mg/kg/infusion) in shorter sessions in order to minimize drug exposure prior to treatment. In this experiment, infusion of methyl naltrexone produced selective increases in responding for heroin, whereas treatment with the identical dose of methyl naltrexone had no effect on cocaine self-administration (1.0 mg/kg/infusion) in the same animals. With respect to the nucleus accumbens, these data confirm its involvement in opiate self-administration. Data for the periaqueductal grey provide the first evidence that opiate receptors in the vicinity of this brain region may play a role in intravenous opiate self-administration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cocaine / administration & dosage
  • Heroin / administration & dosage*
  • Heroin / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Male
  • Microinjections
  • Naltrexone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Naltrexone / pharmacology
  • Narcotic Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Nucleus Accumbens
  • Periaqueductal Gray
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Self Administration


  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • methylnaltrexone
  • Naltrexone
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine