Huperzine A inhibits immediate addictive behavior but not behavioral sensitization following repeated morphine administration in rats.
Exp Ther Med. 2017 Apr ;13(4):1584-1591. Epub 2017 Feb 2. PMID: 28413513
Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are regarded as promising therapeutic agents to treat addiction. The current study aimed to examine the effects of huperzine A, a cholinesterase inhibitor, on behavioral sensitization induced by repeated morphine administration and relapse induced by contextual conditioning. The present study also assessed whether the state-dependency hypothesis may explain the results. Adult rats were divided into four groups (n=8) and intraperitoneally injected with 0.2, 0.3 or 0.4 mg/kg huperzine A or saline (1 ml/kg, control), for 5 days. The effect of repeated huperzine A administration alone on locomotor activity was assessed. For the experiments that analyzed the development of morphine-induced sensitization, 40 rats were divided into five groups (n=8): Saline+Saline, Saline+Morphine, 0.2, 0.3 and 0.4 mg/kg huperzine A+Morphine. Following a withdrawal period of 7 days, all animals were administered saline or morphine, as appropriate. To test the state-dependency hypothesis, the rats in the Saline+Morphine group were injected with saline and morphine, while the other three groups were administered different doses of huperzine A and morphine. To examine the effect of huperzine A on the expression of morphine-induced sensitization, the rats in huperzine A+Morphine groups were injected with appropriate concentrations of huperzine A, and morphine. The current results indicated that the administration of huperzine A alone did not affect locomotor activity, while higher doses of huperzine A inhibited the addictive behavior induced by morphine at the development phase. Additionally, huperzine A administration during the expression phase of morphine sensitization did not inhibit the relapse induced by administration of saline. Furthermore, 0.4 mg/kg huperzine A inhibited the expression of morphine-induced behavioral sensitization. Therefore, the results of the current study do not support the state-dependency hypothesis.