Acute treatment with the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist, liraglutide, reduces cue- and drug-induced fentanyl seeking in rats

Luke A. Urbanik, Nikhil K. Acharya, Patricia S. Grigson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) is a chronic relapsing disorder that has severe negative impacts on the individual, the family, and the community at large. In 2021, opioids contributed to nearly 70% of all drug overdose deaths in the United States. This number of opioid related deaths coincides with a significant rise in the use of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 150 times more potent than morphine. Furthermore, this overdose trend has spared no demographic and costs the nation an estimated $51.2 billion annually. Thus, it is imperative to better understand the underlying mechanisms of OUD in an effort to identify new treatment targets. Using animal models, studies have shown that rats readily self-administer heroin and increase seeking following exposure to cues for drug, the drug itself, or stress. We have shown that treatment with the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonist, liraglutide, can reduce heroin taking and seeking behavior in rats. Therefore, using our rodent model, we established a fentanyl self-administration paradigm to test whether acute treatment with the GLP-1R agonist also can reduce fentanyl seeking in fentanyl experienced rats. The results showed that rats readily self-administered fentanyl (2.5 ug/kg) intravenously, with marked individual differences in drug taking behavior. As with other drugs of abuse tested, rats exhibited high seeking behavior when challenged with a drug-related cue or, after a period of extinction, the drug itself. Here, acute treatment with the GLP-1R agonist, liraglutide (0.3 mg/kg s.c.), was found to attenuate both cue-induced fentanyl seeking and drug-induced reinstatement of fentanyl seeking with the same efficacy as the currently approved partial opioid agonist, buprenorphine. Taken together, these data suggest that a known satiety signal, GLP-1, may serve as an effective non-opioid alternative for the treatment of OUD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Volume189
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience

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