Introduction: Activation of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptors in the nucleus accumbens is a component of drug-induced reward mechanism. In addition, NMDA receptors play a major role in brain reward system and activation of these receptors can change firing pattern of dopamine neurons. Blockade of glutamatergic neurotransmission reduces the expression of conditioned place preference (CPP) induced by morphine. Therefore, in this study, by using an NMDA receptor antagonist, DL-2-Amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid sodium salt (AP5), the role of NMDA receptors on the maintenance and reinstatement of morphine-CPP was investigated.
Methods: Forty-three adult male albino Wistar rats were used in this study. After subcutaneous administration of effective dose of morphine (5 mg/kg) during CPP paradigm, the animals received intracerebroventricular doses of AP5(1, 5, and 25 mM/5μL saline) during extinction period (free morphine stage). Conditioning score was recorded during extinction period and reinstatement phase. Besides, another group of the animals received a single dose administration of AP5(5 mM) just before the administration of ineffective dose of morphine (1 mg/kg) in reinstatement phase.
Results: The results revealed that two doses of this antagonist (5 and 25 mM) significantly shortened the extinction period of morphine-CPP but did not reduce reinstatement induced by priming dose of morphine. Moreover, the single dose administration of AP5(5 mM) just before prime-morphine injection decreased reinstatement of morphine-CPP.
Conclusion: These findings indicate that blockade of NMDA receptors during extinction period reduces maintenance but not reinstatement of morphine. In addition, blocking these receptors in reinstatement phase decreases reinstatement to extinguished morphine.