Long-term use of morphine can cause neuronal dystrophic changes in specific areas of the brain. These changes may underlie the mechanism for developing morphine antinociceptive tolerance and physical dependence. We evaluated the effect of tianeptine, an antidepressant with prominent neuroprotective and neuroplastic properties, on the development of morphine antinociceptive tolerance and physical dependence. Male C57BL/6 mice were rendered tolerant to or dependent on morphine by subcutaneously injecting them with morphine (10(mg/kg) and intraperitoneally with saline or tianeptine (1, 3, or 5(mg/kg) twice daily for 6 days. The mice were given a daily tail-flick test 1(h after the first morphine injection to evaluate the development of their tolerance to morphine antinociception. To evaluate their physical dependence on morphine, 3(h after the final morphine injection on day 6, naloxone-HCl-precipitated (2(mg/kg, intraperitoneally) withdrawal symptoms were counted for 30(min, and body weight was checked 1(h after the naloxone injection. Tianeptine per se produced no antinociception, neither did it modify the antinociception produced by morphine, nor did it evoke the behavioral responses different from those in the saline controls. The combination of tianeptine with morphine significantly reduced the development of morphine antinociceptive tolerance and suppressed the incidence of naloxone-precipitated withdrawal symptoms. We conclude that tianeptine is an effective inhibitor of morphine-induced antinociceptive tolerance and physical dependence in mice. Our results would imply that comedication with tianeptine and morphine might benefit those who need long-term morphine treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas