Addiction to prescription opioid, such as oxycodone, has affected millions of adolescents and young adults. Kappa opioid receptor (KOP-r) agonist can counterbalance the euphoria effects of mu opioid agonists like oxycodone. Nalfurafine is a KOP-r agonist. The current study examined how nalfurafine affected the reinforcing-effect of oxycodone in adolescent male and female mice using intravenous self-administration (SA) and conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigms. Adolescent mice (5 week-old) first received surgery for catheter implantation. After recovery, mice were then placed into the SA chambers and allowed to self-administer oxycodone, 2 h per day for 14 days. Following 14-day oxycodone SA, mice were injected with saline and a single dose of nalfurafine (10, 20, 30, 40 μg/kg, s.c.) 10 min before each oxycodone SA session for 5 consecutive days. The mice were then injected with Nor-BNI (10 mg/kg, i.p.) 24 h before oxycodone SA following injection of nalfurafine (40 μg/kg, s.c.). Separate groups of male and female adolescent mice underwent oxycodone CPP or hot plate test with or without nalfurafine pre-injection. Nalfurafine decreased oxycodone SA in a dose dependent manner. Nor-BNI blocked the effect of nalfurafine on oxycodone SA. Nalfurafine significantly attenuated the oxycodone-induced hyperlocomotor activities and CPP, but enhanced oxycodone-induced analgesia. In conclusion, nalfurafine reduced the reinforcing effects of oxycodone in male and female adolescent mice. Nalfurafine also increased oxycodone-induced antinociception.
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