Opioid modulation of thermal dehydration-induced thirst in rats
Male Sprague-Dawley rats were utilized to study the effects of the opioid receptor antagonists, naloxone and naltrexone, on thirst induced by thermal dehydration. In an initial experiment, the depressant effect of naloxone (1.0 mg/kg, IP) on the water intake of rats deprived of water for 24 h was confirmed. In subsequent experiments, rats were thermally dehydrated by exposing them without water to a 40 o C environment for 1-4 h. Following heat exposure, rats were injected with either naloxone or naltrexone either IP or ICV. Fifteen minutes later, rats were provided with water and water intake was measured for 2 h. Both naloxone and naltrexone had dose (0.1-5.0 mg/kg, IP)-dependent effects of reducing water intake of rats thermally dehydrated for 3 h. Water intake of rats thermally dehydrated for 2 or 4 h was also attenuated by pretreatment with naloxone. Rats thermally dehydrated for 3 h exhibited decreases in water intake following ICV injection of either naloxone or naltrexone at a dose of 50 μg. Neither naloxone nor naltrexone had an effect on urine output in any experiment. The water intake data support the hypothesis that thirst induced by thermal dehydration in rats is modulated by an opioid mechanism.
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