Synergistic blockade of alcohol escalation drinking in mice by a combination of novel kappa opioid receptor agonist Mesyl Salvinorin B and naltrexone

Yan Zhou, Rachel Saylor Crowley, Konrad Ben, Thomas E. Prisinzano, Mary Jeanne Kreek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Mesyl Salvinorin B (MSB) is a potent selective kappa opioid receptor (KOP-r) agonist that has potential for development as an anti-psychostimulant agent with fewer side-effects (e.g., sedation, depression and dysphoria) than classic KOP-r agonists. However, no such study has been done on alcohol. We investigated whether MSB alone or in combination with naltrexone (mu-opioid receptor antagonist) altered voluntary alcohol drinking in both male and female mice. Mice, subjected to 3 weeks of chronic escalation drinking (CED) in a two-bottle choice paradigm with 24-h access every other day, developed rapid escalation of alcohol intake and high preference. We found that single, acute administration of MSB dose-dependently reduced alcohol intake and preference in mice after 3-week CED. The effect was specific to alcohol, as shown by the lack of any effect of MSB on sucrose or saccharin intake. We also used the drinking-in-the-dark (DID) model with limited access (4 h/day) to evaluate the pharmacological effect of MSB after 3 weeks of DID. However, MSB had no effect on alcohol drinking after 3-week DID. Upon investigation of potential synergistic effects between naltrexone and MSB, we found that acute administration of a combination of MSB and naltrexone reduced alcohol intake profoundly after 3-week CED at doses lower than those individual effective doses. Repeated administrations of this combination showed less tolerance development than repeated MSB alone. Our study suggests that the novel KOP-r agonist MSB both alone and in combination with naltrexone shows potential in alcoholism treatment models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-86
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Research
StatePublished - May 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Alcohol escalation drinking
  • Combined therapy
  • KOP-r
  • Mesyl Salvinorin B
  • Naltrexone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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