Acquisition of oral phencyclidine self-administration in rhesus monkeys: Effect of sex

Marilyn E Carroll, Megan E. Roth, Rochus K Voeller, Phuong D. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Rationale: There are increasing reports of sex differences in the etiology of drug abuse in humans. A nonhuman primate model is useful for examining sex as a variable in drug abuse. Objectives: To determine whether there are sex differences in the acquisition of oral phencyclidine (PCP) self-administration and to compare the effect of altered feeding conditions on drag self-administration in male and female monkeys. Methods: Acquisition of orally delivered PCP was studied using 7 female and 11 male adult rhesus monkeys. Initially, the monkeys were not food restricted, and they were given access to water under concurrent fixed-ratio (FR) 1 schedules during daily 3- h sessions. Each lip-contact response on a drinking spout resulted in a 0.3 ml liquid delivery. After baseline levels of water intake were obtained for 5 days, water was replaced with PCP (0.125 mg/ml) at both drinking spouts. Body weights were then reduced to 85% of free-feeding weights, and the monkeys were fed 30 min before the session began. The FR value was increased from 1 to 2, 4, and 8, at both drinking spouts. As a final step in the procedure, water and PCP were concurrently available at the two spouts under FR 8 schedules. Acquisition of PCP-reinforced behavior was considered to have occurred if PCP intake was consistently greater than water intake. Results: Lip-contact responses and liquid deliveries were not significantly different between the females and males throughout the acquisition period, but there was a significant increase in responding and decrease in liquid intake as FR increased, and a significant increase in PCP consumption due to food restriction that did not differ in males and females. On a milligram per kilogram basis, female monkeys consumed nearly twice as much PCP as the males; however, this effect was not significant. The females showed significantly higher PCP than water intake while the males consumed approximately equal amounts of PCP and water. Of the seven females, 100% met the acquisition criterion of significantly greater PCP than water intake, while only 36.4% of the males met the criterion. Conclusion: These results concur with previous rat studies and indicate that female monkeys are more likely than males to acquire drug-reinforced behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-408
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Acquisition
  • Drug self-administration
  • Oral phencyclidine
  • PCP
  • Rhesus monkey
  • Sex


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