Featured Paper of the Month – August 2020.
Fentanyl is a major contributor to the opioid overdose crisis, but there are few preclinical studies of fentanyl relapse. These studies have used experimenter-imposed extinction or forced abstinence procedures. In humans, however, abstinence is often voluntary, with drug available in the drug environment but forgone in favor of nondrug alternative reinforcers. We recently developed a rat model of drug relapse after palatable food choice-induced voluntary abstinence. Here, we used classical pharmacology, immunohistochemistry, and retrograde tracing to demonstrate a critical role of the piriform and orbitofrontal cortices in relapse to fentanyl seeking after voluntary abstinence. Our results demonstrate a new role of the olfaction-related piriform cortex in opioid relapse.
Journal of Neuroscience, 40 (12), pp. 2485–2497, 2020, ISSN: 0270-6474.