In vivo apparent pA2 analysis for naltrexone antagonism of discriminative stimulus and analgesic effects of opiate agonists in rats

E. A. Walker, M. M. Makhay, J. D. House, A. M. Young

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Six opiate agonists were characterized by in vivo apparent pA2 analysis with respect to their discriminative stimulus, rate-decreasing and analgesic effects, by using the antagonist naltrexone. In drug discrimination experiments, rats were trained to discriminate 3.2 mg/kg of morphine from saline under a fixed-ratio 15 schedule of food reinforcement. In analgesia experiments, rat's tails were immersed into 55°C water and latency for tail withdrawal was measured. Naltrexone (0.01-1.0 mg/kg) antagonized discriminative stimulus effects of all agonists, rate-decreasing effects of etorphine, morphine, fentanyl, buprenorphine and GPA 1657 {(1)-B-2'-hydroxy- 2,9-dimethyl-5-phenyl-6,7-benzomorphan} and analgesic effects of etorphine, morphine, buprenorphine and GPA 1657. Analgesic effects of fentanyl and nalbuphine were not tested. Naltrexone apparent pA2 values across the three behavioral measures were etorphine (7.2-7.4 mol/kg), fentanyl (7.3-7.4 mol/kg), morphine (7.5-8.4 mol/kg), GPA 1657 (7.0-7.3 mol/kg), buprenorphine (7.5-7.7 mol/kg) and nalbuphine (7.7 mol/kg). Apparent pA2 values averaged 7.5 mol/kg and slopes of the naltrexone Schild regressions were not different from unity, suggesting that the measured behavioral effects of these agonists are mediated by mu opioid receptors. Nalbuphine also was used as an antagonist in the tail-withdrawal assay. The apparent pA2 values for nalbuphine were etorphine (4.9 mol/kg), morphine (5.9 mol/kg), GPA 1657 (5.7 mol/kg) and buprenorphine (5.5 mol/kg). Slopes of the Schild regressions differed, suggesting that nalbuphine's modest analgesic effects may have prevented proper conditions for an accurate Schild analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-968
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994


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