Effects of extended-access self-administration and deprivation on breakpoints maintained by cocaine in rats
Liu, Y.; Roberts, D.C.S.; Morgan, D.
Psychopharmacology 179(3): 644-651
Animal models that identify the effects of self-administration histories on subsequent patterns, levels of intake, and other aspects of reinforcement will help clarify the controlling variables of human drug use. Identify the effects of extended-access to cocaine and 1 or 7 days of deprivation on cocaine-maintained breakpoints on a progressive ratio (PR) schedule of reinforcement. Male, Sprague-Dawley rats were trained to self-administer intravenous cocaine (expt 1: 1.5 mg/kg per infusion; expt 2: 0.75 mg/kg per infusion), and then given various histories of self-administration and deprivation. Breakpoints, the number of infusions self-administered on a PR schedule, were assessed following the deprivation period. Rates of cocaine intake increased when access to cocaine was extended to 6 h/day. From day 1 to day 14, daily intake increased from 92 (+/-2.5) to 101 (+/-2.8) mg/kg in expt 1, and from 55 (+/-4) to 78 (+/-2.2) mg/kg in expt 2. Total intake across this 2-week period was approximately 1260 and 970 mg/kg in expts 1 and 2. Breakpoints were not different following this escalation period. The introduction of a 7-day deprivation period failed to alter breakpoints. There is dissociation between changes in rate of cocaine intake (or consumption) and breakpoints maintained on a PR schedule. Extended-access to cocaine produced increases in rate of intake without altering breakpoints. Depending on the experimental question, extended-access conditions may prove useful for studying changes in certain aspects of reinforcement, such as consumption, but not others, such as the strength of a drug as a reinforcer.