Withdrawal from morphine generalizes to a pentylenetetrazol stimulus

M. W. Emmett-Oglesby, C. M. Harris, J. D. Lane, H. Lal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Rats trained to discriminate pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) from saline in a two-lever food-reinforced operant task were given a three-day course of morphine, 15 to 45 mg/kg tid, ip. On the third day naloxone produced dose-dependent generalization to the PTZ stimulus, with 66% of subjects selecting the PTZ lever after the highest dose (0.32 mg/kg). Following termination of morphine injections, generalization of spontaneous withdrawal was tested. Approximately 50% of subjects selected the PTZ lever at 24 and 48 hrs after the last morphine, and by 96 hrs the percentage of subjects selecting the PTZ lever had dropped to 11%. Rats that chose the PTZ lever at 48 hrs were given diazepam, 5.0 mg/kg, which blocked the PTZ-like stimulus. These data demonstrate that morphine withdrawal produces a stimulus with PTZ-like characteristics which can be blocked by an anxiolytic, and they suggest that the PTZ discrimination may have general utility for investigating drug dependence and withdrawal in animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-40
Number of pages4
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Dec 1984


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