Mapping of a quantitative trait locus for morphine withdrawal severity

Benjamin Kest, Christina A. Palmese, Aaron Juni, Elissa J. Chesler, Jeffrey S. Mogil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Chronic morphine exposure results in physical dependence, manifested by physical symptoms during naloxone-precipitated withdrawal. Jumping frequency is widely considered the most sensitive and reliable index of withdrawal intensity in mice. Inbred mouse strains surveyed for naloxone-precipitated withdrawal display large and significant strain differences in jumping frequency, including an approximately tenfold difference between C57BL/6 and 129P3 mice. In the present study, (B6 x 129)F2 hybrid mice were given daily morphine injections for four days using an escalating dosing schedule, and naloxone-precipitated withdrawal on day 5 was measured. A full-genome scan for linkage to phenotypic data was performed using polymorphic microsatellite markers. Significant linkage was observed between withdrawal jumping frequencies and a 28 cM-wide region of Chromosome 1 (32-60 cM; peak at 51 cM), accounting for 20% of the overall phenotypic variance. Two other suggestive QTLs were found, on Chromosomes 5 and 10, and an additive model fitting all three loci accounted for 43% of the total variance. F2 mice were also assessed for changes in morphine analgesic potency using the tail-withdrawal test in dose-response studies on days 1 and 4. No linkage was observed between Chromosomes 1, 5, and 10 and morphine analgesic tolerance, suggestive of genetic dissociation of naloxone-precipitated withdrawal from morphine and chronic morphine intake per se. The significant quantitative trait locus for naloxone-precipitated withdrawal severity in morphine-dependent mice, which we name Depmq1, may prove to be of considerable heuristic value once the underlying gene or genes are identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)610-617
Number of pages8
JournalMammalian Genome
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


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