Rats maintained chronically on buprenorphine show reduced heroin and cocaine seeking in tests of extinction and drug-induced reinstatement

Academic Article


  • Buprenorphine is being introduced as a maintenance therapy in opioid addiction, but it is not clear how buprenorphine will affect co-use of cocaine in opioid users. We examined the effects of chronic buprenorphine (BUP0: 0.0 mg/kg/day; BUP1.5: 1.5 mg/kg/day; BUP3: 3.0 mg/kg/day) on the locomotor activity effects of acute heroin (0.25 mg/kg, subcutaneously (s.c.)) and cocaine (20 mg/kg, intraperitoneally (i.p.)). Buprenorphine had no effect on the stimulatory effect of heroin, but potentiated the locomotor response to cocaine. To investigate further the interactions between buprenorphine (BUP1.5 and BUP3), heroin (0.125, 0.25 and 0.375 mg/kg, s.c.), and cocaine (10, 20 and 30 mg/kg, i.p.), we used in vivo microdialysis and high-performance liquid chromatography to analyze extracellular levels of dopamine (DA) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Buprenorphine attenuated the heroin-induced rise in NAc DA, but greatly potentiated the cocaine-induced rise. Finally, we examined the potential of the highest dose of buprenorphine (BUP3) to reduce heroin and cocaine seeking in the presence of drug-associated cues under extinction conditions and in tests for reinstatement induced by heroin (0.25 mg/kg, s.c.), cocaine (20 mg/kg, i.p.), and 15-min footshock stress (0.8 mA, 0.5 s/shock, 40 s mean OFF time) in rats trained to self-administer both drugs. Buprenorphine reduced heroin and cocaine seeking during extinction and following acute heroin and cocaine priming injections, but had no effect on stress-induced reinstatement. These results indicate that the suppression of responding following priming injections of drugs did not result from reduced motor activity, but possibly from a reduction in the salience of drug-associated cues induced by chronic buprenorphine treatment. © 2005 Nature Publishing Group. All rights reserved.
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    Author List

  • Sorge RE; Rajabi H; Stewart J
  • Start Page

  • 1681
  • End Page

  • 1692
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 9