Effects of female sex hormones on morphine dependence

  • Setare Sianati1, 2,

    Affiliated with

    • Behrang Sharif1, 2, 3,

      Affiliated with

      • Mahsa Sadeghi1, 2,

        Affiliated with

        • Dina Kalbasi Kalbasi Anaraki1, 2 and

          Affiliated with

          • Ahmad Reza Dehpour1

            Affiliated with

            Annals of General Psychiatry20087(Suppl 1):S264

            DOI: 10.1186/1744-859X-7-S1-S264

            Published: 17 April 2008


            Sex hormones have a variety of neurobehavioral effects including modulatory roles in anxiety and memory. It also has been shown that female sex hormones can alter some of the modulatory effects of opioids, such as morphine on seizure susceptibility. Thus, we conducted this study to evaluate the effects of female sex hormones on morphine dependency using a behavioral model of morphine withdrawal.

            Materials and methods

            Female swiss mice (weighing 25-30 g) were divided into 3 main groups: unoperated, sham-operated and operated (OVX). Morphine dependence was induced in mice by repeated injection of increasing morphine doses for 5 days. Then animals were assessed for dependency using the behavioral model of naloxane-induced withdrawal (jumping behavior and diarrhea). Also, the effects of ovarian hormones (estradiol and progesterone) on dependency to morphine were assessed in OVX mice.


            Ovarectomized mice had significant decrease in jumping (p<0.01) and significant increase in weight loss (p<0.001) compared with appropriate control groups. Pretreatment with physiologic doses of estrogen and progesterone significantly increased jumping response and decreased weight loss (p<0.001) compared to non-hormone receiving operated mice.


            Our results demonstrated that female sex hormones are possibly involved in morphine dependence. More studies are needed to find the underlying mechanism(s) of this effect.



            We thank Drs S. Ejtemaei-Mehr and V. Hoghooghi and M. Ghasemi for their helpful criticisms on this manuscript

            Authors’ Affiliations

            Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences
            Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Research Program(INRP), Tehran University of Medical Sciences
            Department of Pharmacology,School of Pharmacy, Shahid-Beheshti University of Medical Sciences


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            © Sianati et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2008

            This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.