Cocaine-, caffeine-, and stress-evoked cocaine reinstatement in high vs. low impulsive rats: Treatment with allopregnanolone

Paul S. Regier, Alexander B. Claxton, Natalie E. Zlebnik, Marilyn E. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Previous research indicates that individual differences in traits such as impulsivity, avidity for sweets, and novelty reactivity are predictors of several aspects of drug addiction. Specifically, rats that rank high on these behavioral measures are more likely than their low drug-seeking counterparts to exhibit several characteristics of drug-seeking behavior. In contrast, initial work suggests that the low drug-seeking animals are more reactive to negative events (e.g., punishment and anxiogenic stimuli). The goal of this study was to compare high and low impulsive rats on reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior elicited by cocaine (COC) and by negative stimuli such as the stress-inducing agent yohimbine (YOH) or a high dose of caffeine (CAFF). An additional goal was to determine whether treatment with allopregnanolone (ALLO) would reduce reinstatement (or relapse) of cocaine-seeking behavior under these priming conditions. Methods: Female rats were selected as high (HiI) or low (LoI) impulsive using a delay-discounting task. After selection, they were allowed to self-administer cocaine for 12 days. Cocaine was then replaced with saline, and rats extinguished lever responding over 16 days. Subsequently, rats were pretreated with either vehicle control or ALLO, and cocaine seeking was reinstated by injections of COC, CAFF, or YOH. Results: While there were no phenotype differences in maintenance and extinction of cocaine self-administration or reinstatement under control treatment conditions, ALLO attenuated COC- and CAFF-primed reinstatement in LoI but not HiI rats. Conclusions: Overall, the present findings suggest that individual differences in impulsive behavior may influence efficacy of interventions aimed to reduce drug-seeking behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


  • Allopregnanolone
  • Caffeine
  • Cocaine
  • Impulsivity
  • Reinstatement
  • Self-administration
  • Yohimbine


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