Experiments examined how learning processes modulate tolerance to discriminative stimulus effects of morphine. Rats were trained to discriminate saline and 3.2 mg/kg morphine, and the doses of morphine required to mimic the training dose were determined before, during and after repeated treatment with saline or high doses of morphine (10 mg/kg, b.i.d.). In one set of experiments, training was either suspended or continued with saline and the original training dose during a 2-week treatment regimen. When training was suspended, high-dose morphine treatment increased the dose of morphine required for stimulus effects approximately 3-fold. Tolerance persisted 2 days after treatment ended, but disappeared within 7 days. In contrast, continued training with saline and 3.2 mg/kg morphine during high-dose treatment both attenuated development of tolerance and transferred control to lower doses. Transfer of control to lower doses appeared conditional upon recent termination of high-dose treatment, as it disappeared within 7 days. Treatment with saline did not change the doses of morphine required for stimulus effects under either training condition. A final experiment examined whether high-dose treatment could transfer control to higher doses of morphine. The treatment dose of 10 mg/kg morphine itself was used as the training dose during a 2-week treatment regimen. The dose of morphine required for stimulus effects increased 2- to 4-fold during treatment, but quickly returned to control values when treatment ended. These results extend previous findings that conditioning and pharmacodynamic processes jointly regulate development of tolerance to discriminative effects of morphine.
- drug discrimination
- drug tolerance