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The delta opioid receptor antagonist, SoRI-9409, decreases yohimbine stress-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking


Selena Bartlett, Preclinical Development Group, Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, 5858 Horton Street, Suite 200, Emeryville, CA 94608, USA. E-mail:


A major problem in treating alcohol use disorders (AUDs) is the high rate of relapse due to stress and re-exposure to cues or an environment previously associated with alcohol use. Stressors can induce relapse to alcohol-seeking in humans or reinstatement in rodents. Delta opioid peptide receptors (DOP-Rs) play a role in cue-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking; however, their role in stress-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking is not known. The objective of this study was to determine the role of DOP-Rs in yohimbine-stress-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking. Male, Long-Evans rats were trained to self-administer 10% ethanol in daily 30-minute operant self-administration sessions using a FR3 schedule of reinforcement, followed by extinction training. Once extinction criteria were met, we examined the effects of the DOP-R antagonist, SoRI-9409 (0–5 mg/kg, i.p.) on yohimbine (2 mg/kg, i.p.) stress-induced reinstatement. Additionally, DOP-R-stimulated [35S]GTPγS binding was measured in brain membranes and plasma levels of corticosterone (CORT) were determined. Pre-treatment with SoRI-9409 decreased yohimbine stress-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking but did not affect yohimbine-induced increases in plasma CORT levels. Additionally, yohimbine increased DOP-R-stimulated 35[S]GTPγS binding in brain membranes of ethanol-trained rats, an effect that was inhibited by SoRI-9409. This suggests that the DOP-R plays an important role in yohimbine-stress-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking behavior, and DOP-R antagonists may be promising candidates for further development as a treatment for AUDs.