Key words Opiate dependence
Nitric oxide synthase
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The opiate withdrawal induced by administration of naloxone to morphine-dependent mice correlates with an increment of calcium- dependent nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity in the cerebellum. L-NAME, an irreversible competitive inhibitor of NOS (0.5, 5, 25, 50 mg/kg) injected sc. 45 min. prior to naloxone significantly reduced the number of escape jumps and other motor symptoms of abstinence. In addition, L-NAME also decreased NOS activity in cerebellum. L-arginine, but not D-arginine, when coadministered with L-NAME, prevented both the inhibition of NOS activity and the reduction of withdrawal symptoms induced by L-NAME in morphine-withdrawn animals. These results demonstrate a hyperactivity of the L-arginine: NO pathway in opiate withdrawal and suggests the possibility of a therapeutic use of NOS inhibitors in this state.
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