We have investigated the effects of continuous infusion of butorphanol on the modulation of GABAA receptor binding. Butorphanol was infused continuously into intracerebroventricle (ICV) at a constant rate of 26 nmol/μl/h for 3 days, and the withdrawal from opioid was rendered 7 h after the cessation of infusion. The GABAA receptor bindings in rat brain slices were analyzed by quantitative autoradiography using [3H]muscimol and [3H]flunitrazepam. In the rats withdrawn from butorphanol, the levels of [3H]muscimol binding were significantly elevated in cortex, thalamus, and part of the hippocampus. The levels of [3H]flunitrazepam binding were elevated in almost all of brain regions including cortex, caudate putamen, thalamus, hippocampus, brainstem, and cerebellum in the rats withdrawn from butorphanol. The levels of binding of either [3H]muscimol or [3H]flunitrazepam were not changed in the rats tolerant to butorphanol. However, the activity of GABAergic neuron was not found to have been modulated by butorphanol withdrawal, because the level of glutamic acid decarboxylase was not changed markedly either in rats that were tolerant to or withdrawn from butorphanol by Western blot and immunohistochemical data. These results suggest that the withdrawal from butorphanol infusion markedly elevates the binding of [3H]muscimol and [3H]flunitrazepam throughout the brain in a region-specific manner, and that the regulatory mechanisms in butorphanol tolerance and withdrawal may be different.
- Tolerance, withdrawal, autoradiography