Morphine withdrawal is characterized by functional alterations at the level of the ventrotegmental area. We investigated the effects of chronic morphine administration and withdrawal on the morphological properties of immuno-labelled tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons of the rat ventrotegmental area with a confocal laser scanning microscope. Morphological evaluation revealed a reduction in the area and perimeter of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive somata in morphine-withdrawn rats. Conversely, the number of cells per field was found to have increased in the naloxone group. Collectively, the present results indicate that withdrawal from a chronic morphine treatment, and not chronic morphine per se, modifies cellular morphology of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive, presumably dopamine-containing, neurons of the rat VTA. This is consistent with the idea that withdrawal from morphine alters functioning of the mesolimbic dopamine system and provides a direct morphological correlate for the functional abnormalities typical of morphine withdrawal.

Morphine withdrawal-induced abnormalities in the VTA: confocal laser scanning microscopy

SPIGA, SATURNINO;
2003

Abstract

Morphine withdrawal is characterized by functional alterations at the level of the ventrotegmental area. We investigated the effects of chronic morphine administration and withdrawal on the morphological properties of immuno-labelled tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons of the rat ventrotegmental area with a confocal laser scanning microscope. Morphological evaluation revealed a reduction in the area and perimeter of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive somata in morphine-withdrawn rats. Conversely, the number of cells per field was found to have increased in the naloxone group. Collectively, the present results indicate that withdrawal from a chronic morphine treatment, and not chronic morphine per se, modifies cellular morphology of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive, presumably dopamine-containing, neurons of the rat VTA. This is consistent with the idea that withdrawal from morphine alters functioning of the mesolimbic dopamine system and provides a direct morphological correlate for the functional abnormalities typical of morphine withdrawal.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/5655
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