A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the human mu-opioid receptor gene (OPRM1 A118G) has been widely studied for its association in a variety of drug addiction and pain sensitivity phenotypes; however, the extent of these adaptations and the mechanisms underlying these associations remain elusive. To clarify the functional mechanisms linking the OPRM1 A118G SNP to addiction and analgesia phenotypes, we derived a mouse model possessing the equivalent nucleotide/amino acid substitution in the Oprm1 gene. Mice harboring this SNP (A112G) demonstrated several phenotypic similarities to humans carrying the A118G SNP, including reduced mRNA expression and morphine-mediated antinociception. We found additional phenotypes associated with this SNP including significant reductions of receptor protein levels, morphine-mediated hyperactivity, and the development of locomotor sensitization in mice harboring the G112 allele. In addition, we found sex-specific reductions in the rewarding properties of morphine and the aversive components of naloxone-precipitated morphine withdrawal. Further cross-species analysis will allow us to investigate mechanisms and adaptations present in humans carrying this SNP.
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