Sensitization to the behavioral effects of cocaine: modulation by dynorphin and kappa-opioid receptor agonists

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1997 Jul;57(3):449-55. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(96)00450-9.


Several lines of evidence suggest an involvement of the mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system in the mediation of psychostimulant-induced sensitization. It is also apparent that endogenous opioid peptide systems can modulate the activity of this same DA system. Psychostimulant-induced alterations in opioid peptide gene expression have also been reported. In this review, evidence will be presented that demonstrates that the administration of kappa-opioid agonists can prevent the initiation of behavioral sensitization to cocaine and that such treatment is also effective in preventing alterations in mesolimbic DA neurotransmission that occur as a consequence of repeated cocaine administration. The putative role of opioid-DA interactions in the modulation of psychostimulant-induced sensitization will also be discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cocaine / pharmacology*
  • Dynorphins / pharmacology*
  • Locomotion / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa / agonists*


  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa
  • Dynorphins
  • Cocaine