Ontogeny of Morphine Withdrawal in the Rat

Academic Article


  • The present studies examined behavioral changes during precipitated morphine withdrawal in 7-to 42-day-old rat pups. One group of rats was injected with morphine sulfate (10.0 mg/kg) twice daily for 6.5 days. Another group of 7-day-old rats received a lower dose of morphine (3.0 mg/kg). Controls were saline injected or untreated litters (7-day-old pups only). On Day 7, a target pup was injected with saline or naltrexone (0.3-10.0 mg/kg). Preweaning pups were observed in a warm chamber with the litter. Forty-two-day-old rats were tested individually. Morphine-treated pups tested with naltrexone showed significant alterations in behavior that varied at different ages. For example, rolling, stretching, and head and paw moves were observed at the younger ages, whereas burrowing, diarrhea, jumps, teeth chatter, and wet dog shakes occurred in the older rats. These data indicate that morphine-abstinent rats demonstrate withdrawal signs that are within the developmental repertoire of the rat. © 1995 American Psychological Association.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Jones KL; Barr GA
  • Start Page

  • 1189
  • End Page

  • 1198
  • Volume

  • 109
  • Issue

  • 6