Naloxone reduces social locomotor activity in rats
Naloxone, a nonspecific opioid antagonist, has been found to decrease the activity and social behavior of rats tested in pairs but the effects on individual locomotor activity have been equivocal. In the present study, groups of male Long-Evans hooded rats recieved naloxone (1 or 4 mg/kg, IP) or vehicle alone (isotonic saline) 30 min prior to testing sessions. Individual locomotor activity was measured in two activity boxes (41-cm 3 ) equipped with two infrared photobeams using daily 30-min testing sessions for 5 consecutive days. Following a 1-week washout period (no testing), activity and social attraction (paired distance and contact) were examined in pairs of rats from each group using daily 15-min testing sessions for 4 consecutive days. Locomotor activity and its habituation were not significantly affected by naloxone in rats tested individually. However, both doses of naloxone significantly reduced paired locomotor activity compared to the control group. Measures of social attraction were not significantly affected by naloxone. The present findings suggest that naloxone does not produce nonspecific depressant effects on activity but rather may antagonize opioid release in situational contexts of high arousal (e.g., social activity) with consequent reduction of activity.
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