Blunted opiate modulation of prolactin response in smoking men and women

Darcy Shaw, Mustafa al'Absi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Endogenous opioids are integral in modulating drug reward, but it is believed that these may act through several mechanisms including hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) and dopamine pathways. This study was developed to examine how nicotine dependence alters endogenous opioid regulation of prolactin response, a peripheral marker of dopaminergic activity. Smokers and nonsmokers completed two sessions during which placebo or 50 mg of naltrexone was administered, using a double-blind, counterbalanced design. Blood samples and mood measures were obtained during a resting absorption period, after exposure to two noxious stimuli (cold pressor and thermal pain), and during an extended recovery period. Opioid blockade increased prolactin response, indicating an inhibitory effect of the endogenous opioid system on prolactin, possibly mediated by reduced stimulatory effects of dopamine on this hormone. These responses were attenuated in smokers relative to nonsmokers. There was also a gender disparity in prolactin response, with women showing a stronger response to endogenous opioid modification than men regardless of smoking status. The attenuated effects of opioid blockade may reflect dysregulated opiodergic and dopaminergic effects. Results extend previous reports showing blunted opioid regulation of the HPA response in dependent smokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Volume95
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010

Keywords

  • Dopamine
  • Opioids
  • Prolactin
  • Reward
  • Smoking

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