Striatal Dopaminergic and Serotonergic Markers in Human Heroin Users
Changes in levels of biogenic amines and metabolites were measured using high performance liquid chromatography fitted with an electrochemical detection in various rat brain regions after acute administration of and abrupt withdrawal from continuous intracerebroventricular infusion of butorphanol (a μ/δ/κ mixed opioid receptor agonist) or morphine (a μ-opioid receptor agonist). A single dose of butorphanol (26 nmol/5 μl) or morphine (26 nmol/5 μl) increased levels of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid in the striatum and limbic region and of homovanilic acid in the cortex, striatum, and limbic region. In animals which had been infused with butorphanol (26 nmol/μl/hr) or morphine (26 nmol/μl/hr) for 3 days, an increase in dopamine turnover was observed. The levels of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid was decreased and that of homovanilic acid was increased in the striatum, limbic region, and midbrain immediately after termination of opioid infusion. Both dopamine metabolites (in these areas) were decreased at 2 and 6 hr after butorphanol or morphine withdrawal. Changes in norepinephrine, serotonin, and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid levels in some brain regions were observed in the morphine-, but not in butorphanol-dependent rats. These data suggest that the increase and the decrease in dopaminergic activity, but not noradrenergic and serotonergic neurons, in the some brain regions are closely associated with the production of antinociception of and the expression of withdrawal syndrome from butorphanol and morphine, respectively.