Characterization of the discriminative stimulus effects of a NOP receptor agonist ro 64-6198 in rhesus monkeys

Phillip A. Saccone, Kathy A. Zelenock, Angela M. Lindsey, Agnieszka Sulima, Kenner C. Rice, Eric P. Prinssen, Jürgen Wichmann, James H. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Nociceptin/orphanin FQ receptor (NOP) agonists have been reported to produce antinociceptive effects in rhesus monkeys with comparable efficacy to μ-opioid receptor (MOP) agonists, but without their limiting side effects. There are also known to be species differences between rodents and nonhuman primates (NHPs) in the behavioral effects of NOP agonists. The aims of this study were the following: 1) to determine if the NOP agonist Ro 64-6198 could be trained as a discriminative stimulus; 2) to evaluate its pharmacological selectivity as a discriminative stimulus; and 3) to establish the order of potency with which Ro 64-6198 produces discriminative stimulus effects compared with analgesic effects in NHPs. Two groups of rhesus monkeys were trained to discriminate either fentanyl or Ro 64-6198 from vehicle. Four monkeys were trained in the warmwater tail-withdrawal procedure to measure antinociception. Ro 64-6198 produced discriminative stimulus effects that were blocked by the NOP antagonist J-113397 and not by naltrexone. The discriminative stimulus effects of Ro 64-6198 partially generalized to diazepam, but not to fentanyl, SNC 80, ketocyclazocine, buprenorphine, phencyclidine, or chlorpromazine. Fentanyl produced stimulus effects that were blocked by naltrexone and not by J-113397, and Ro 64-6198 did not produce fentanyl-appropriate responding in fentanyltrained animals. In measures of antinociception, fentanyl, but not Ro 64-6198, produced dose-dependent increases in tailwithdrawal latency. Together, these results demonstrate that Ro 64-6198 produced stimulus effects in monkeys that are distinct from other opioid receptor agonists, but may be somewhat similar to diazepam. In contrast to previous findings, Ro 64-6198 did not produce antinociception in the majority of animals tested even at doses considerably greater than those that produced discriminative stimulus effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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