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Dopamine D2/3- and μ-opioid receptor antagonists reduce cue-induced responding and reward impulsivity in humans


Weber, S C; Beck-Schimmer, B; Kajdi, M-E; Müller, D; Tobler, Philippe N; Quednow, B B (2016). Dopamine D2/3- and μ-opioid receptor antagonists reduce cue-induced responding and reward impulsivity in humans. Translational Psychiatry, 6:e850.

Abstract

Increased responding to drug-associated stimuli (cue reactivity) and an inability to tolerate delayed gratification (reward impulsivity) have been implicated in the development and maintenance of drug addiction. Whereas data from animal studies suggest that both the dopamine and opioid system are involved in these two reward-related processes, their role in humans is less clear. Moreover, dopaminergic and opioidergic drugs have not been directly compared with regard to these functions, even though a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms might inform the development of specific treatments for elevated cue reactivity and reward impulsivity. In a randomized, double-blind, between-subject design we administered the selective dopamine D2/D3 receptor antagonist amisulpride (400 mg, n=41), the unspecific opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone (50 mg, n=40) or placebo (n=40) to healthy humans and measured cue-induced responding with a Pavlovian-instrumental transfer task and reward impulsivity with a delay discounting task. Mood was assessed using a visual analogue scale. Compared with placebo, amisulpride significantly suppressed cue-induced responding and reward impulsivity. The effects of naltrexone were similar, although less pronounced. Both amisulpride and naltrexone decreased average mood ratings compared with placebo. Our results demonstrate that a selective blockade of dopamine D2/D3 receptors reduces cue-induced responding and reward impulsivity in healthy humans. Antagonizing μ-opioid receptors has similar effects for cue-induced responding and to a lesser extent for reward impulsivity.

Abstract

Increased responding to drug-associated stimuli (cue reactivity) and an inability to tolerate delayed gratification (reward impulsivity) have been implicated in the development and maintenance of drug addiction. Whereas data from animal studies suggest that both the dopamine and opioid system are involved in these two reward-related processes, their role in humans is less clear. Moreover, dopaminergic and opioidergic drugs have not been directly compared with regard to these functions, even though a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms might inform the development of specific treatments for elevated cue reactivity and reward impulsivity. In a randomized, double-blind, between-subject design we administered the selective dopamine D2/D3 receptor antagonist amisulpride (400 mg, n=41), the unspecific opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone (50 mg, n=40) or placebo (n=40) to healthy humans and measured cue-induced responding with a Pavlovian-instrumental transfer task and reward impulsivity with a delay discounting task. Mood was assessed using a visual analogue scale. Compared with placebo, amisulpride significantly suppressed cue-induced responding and reward impulsivity. The effects of naltrexone were similar, although less pronounced. Both amisulpride and naltrexone decreased average mood ratings compared with placebo. Our results demonstrate that a selective blockade of dopamine D2/D3 receptors reduces cue-induced responding and reward impulsivity in healthy humans. Antagonizing μ-opioid receptors has similar effects for cue-induced responding and to a lesser extent for reward impulsivity.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:5 July 2016
Deposited On:20 Sep 2016 15:54
Last Modified:30 Nov 2016 08:38
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2158-3188
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/tp.2016.113

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