The present study examined the ability of LY235959, a competitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, to attenuate behaviors and c-fos mRNA expression associated with acute morphine withdrawal in the infant rat. Rat pups were given a single dose of morphine (10.0 mg/kg, s.c.) or saline. Two hours later, pups were removed from the dam and injected with either LY235959 (10.0 mg/kg, s.c.) or saline. Fifteen minutes later acute morphine withdrawal was precipitated with naltrexone (10.0 mg/kg, s.c.) and behaviors were recorded every 15 s for the next 60 min. Immediately after behavioral testing, brain and spinal cord were assayed for c-fos mRNA analysis by solution hybridization. The intensity of the morphine withdrawal syndrome was reduced in pups pre-treated with LY235959. Withdrawal behaviors such as head moves, moving paws, rolling, and walking were decreased, and vocalizations were completely eliminated in pups pre-treated with LY2359559. Acute morphine withdrawal increased c-fos mRNA expression in the brain and the spinal cord, which was attenuated by pre-treatment of LY235959. Thus, in the 7-day-old rat, as in the adult, NMDA receptors play a role in the behavioral and molecular manifestations of acute morphine withdrawal. © 2002 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Published by Elsevier Science Inc.