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Keywords:

  • Alcohol;
  • dependence;
  • dynorphin;
  • nor-binaltorphimine (nor-BNI);
  • self-administration;
  • withdrawal

ABSTRACT

Altered dynorphin opioid peptide systems contribute to increased ethanol self-administration during withdrawal following chronic alcohol exposure. We previously identified that the κ-opioid receptor antagonist nor-binaltorphimine (nor-BNI) selectively reduced ethanol self-administration in dependent animals. The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) determine whether peripherally administered nor-BNI could reduce dependence-induced ethanol self-administration and (2) confirm the selective κ-opioid effects of nor-BNI by administering it 24 hours prior to ethanol self-administration sessions occurring during acute withdrawal. Nor-BNI decreased ethanol self-administration in ethanol-dependent animals, with no effect in nondependent animals. Thus, the κ-opioid/dynorphin system is a viable pharmacotherapeutic target for the treatment of alcoholism.