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Role of Noradrenergic Signaling by the Nucleus Tractus Solitarius in Mediating Opiate Reward

Science  17 Feb 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5763, pp. 1017-1020
DOI: 10.1126/science.1119311

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Abstract

Norepinephrine (NE) is widely implicated in opiate withdrawal, but much less is known about its role in opiate-induced locomotion and reward. In mice lacking dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH), an enzyme critical for NE synthesis, we found that NE was necessary for morphine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP; a measure of reward) and locomotion. These deficits were rescued by systemic NE restoration. Viral restoration of DBH expression in the nucleus tractus solitarius, but not in the locus coeruleus, restored CPP for morphine. Morphine-induced locomotion was partially restored by DBH expression in either brain region. These data suggest that NE signaling by the nucleus tractus solitarius is necessary for morphine reward.

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