Modification of naloxone-precipitated withdrawal symptoms in mice by drugs acting on alpha(2)-adrenoceptors.

Original article


Sharif SI, El-Kadi AO.

Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Arab Medical University, P.O. Box 18251, Benghazi, Libya.

Behav Pharmacol. 1996 Aug;7(4):334-340.


Modification of naloxone-precipitated withdrawal symptoms by drugs acting on alpha-adrenoceptors was investigated in morphine-dependent mice. Clonidine (0.05-1mg/kg) attenuated most withdrawal symptoms, but potentiated withdrawal hypothermia. Jumping was attenuated by doses of clonidine up to 0.3mg/kg, but markedly potentiated by 1mg/kg. Prazosin (0.05mg/kg) neither had effects of its own, nor influenced those of clonidine. Both yohimbine (0.05-5mg/kg) and idazoxan (1-10mg/kg) potentiated naloxone-precipitated withdrawal symptoms. When tested against a low dose of clonidine (0.2mg/kg), idazoxan dose-dependently reduced the suppressive effects of clonidine on jumping, “wet dog” shakes, burrowing and body-weight loss but potentiated the hypothermic response of clonidine. Yohimbine similarly reduced the suppressive effect of clonidine on body-weight loss and potentiated its hypothermic response, but unlike idazoxan, it did not influence the inhibition by clonidine of “wet dog” shakes, and markedly reversed the suppression of jumping and burrowing into potentiation. Yohimbine and idazoxan also differed with respect to their antagonistic profile against a high dose of clonidine (1mg/kg). Yohimbine further aggravated the potentiation of jumping by clonidine, reduced the effect on body-weight loss and reversed the suppression of burrowing by clonidine. On the other hand, idazoxan markedly reduced the potentiation of jumping by clonidine, and reversed its effect on “wet dog” shakes and burrowing. These findings indicate that clonidine has a biphasic effect on jumping, and disclose differences in the antagonistic profiles between yohimbine and idazoxan. The results suggest that in addition to alpha(2)-adrenoceptors, non-adrenergic imidazoline receptors sensitive to clonidine and idazoxan but not to yohimbine may modulate the expression of morphine withdrawal symptoms.

Keywords: naloxone,alpha-adrenoceptors ,withdrawal symptoms ,Clonidine