Nociceptin and the NOP receptor in aversive learning in mice

Abdu Adem, Nather Madjid, Ulrika Kahl, Sarah Holst, Bassem Sadek, Johan Sandin, Lars Terenius, Sven Ove Ögren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The endogenous neuropeptide nociceptin (N/OFQ), which mediates its actions via the nociceptin receptor (NOP), is implicated in multiple behavioural and physiological functions. This study examined the effects of the NOP agonists N/OFQ and the synthetic agonist Ro 64–6198, the antagonists NNN and NalBzoH, as well as deletion of the Pronociceptin gene on emotional memory in mice. The animals were tested in the passive avoidance (PA) task, dependent on hippocampal and amygdala functions. N/OFQ injected intraventricularly (i.c.v.) prior to training produced a biphasic effect on PA retention; facilitation at a low dose and impairment at higher doses. Ro 64–6198 also displayed a biphasic effect with memory facilitation at lower doses and impairment at a high dose. None of the agonists influenced PA training latencies. NNN did not significantly modulate retention in the PA task but antagonized the inhibitory effects of N/OFQ. NalBzoH facilitated memory retention in a dose-dependent manner and blocked the impairing effects of N/OFQ. However, neither NNN nor NalBzoH blocked the memory-impairing effects of Ro 64–6198. Finally, the Pnoc knockout mice exhibited enhanced PA retention latencies compared to the wild type mice. The biphasic effect of the natural ligand and Ro 64–6198 and the failure of the antagonists to block the action of Ro 64–6198 indicate complexity in ligand-receptor interaction. These results indicate that brain nociceptin and its NOP has a subtle role in regulation of mechanisms of relevance for treatment of disorders with processing disturbances of aversive events e.g. Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, depression and PTSD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1298-1307
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Emotional memory
  • Mice
  • NOP
  • Nociceptin
  • Passive avoidance
  • Ro 64–6198

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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