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Papers of the Week

Papers: 1 Jun 2024 - 7 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 02

Pharmacol Biochem Behav


Characterization and validation of a spontaneous acute and protracted oxycodone withdrawal model in male and female mice.


Contreras KM, Buzzi B, Vaughn J, Caillaud M, Altarifi AA, Olszewski E, Walentiny DM, Beardsley PM, Damaj MI


Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a serious health problem that may lead to physical dependence, in addition to affective disorders. Preclinical models are essential for studying the neurobiology of and developing pharmacotherapies to treat these problems. Historically, chronic morphine injections have most often been used to produce opioid-dependent animals, and withdrawal signs indicative of dependence were precipitated by administering an opioid antagonist. In the present studies, we have developed and validated a model of dependence on oxycodone (a widely prescribed opioid) during spontaneous withdrawal in male and female C57BL/6J mice. Dependence was induced by chronically administering oxycodone through osmotic minipumps at different doses for 7 days. Somatic withdrawal signs were measured after 3, 6, 24, and 48 h following minipump removal. Additionally, sensitivity to mechanical, thermal, and cold stimuli, along with anxiety-like behavior, were also measured. Our results indicated that spontaneous withdrawal following discontinuation of oxycodone produced an increase in total withdrawal signs after 60 and 120 mg/kg/day regimens of oxycodone administration. These signs were reversed by the administration of clinically approved medications for OUD. In general, both female and male mice showed similar profiles of somatic signs of spontaneous withdrawal. Spontaneous withdrawal also resulted in mechanical and cold hypersensitivity lasting for 24 and 14 days, respectively, and produced anxiety-like behaviors after 2 and 3 weeks following oxycodone removal. These results help validate a new model of oxycodone dependence, including the temporally distinct emergence of somatic, hyperalgesic, and anxiety-like behaviors, potentially useful for mechanistic and translational studies of opioid dependence.