Effect of short- vs. long-term estrogen on reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior in female rats

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Estrogen effects on cocaine-induced reinstatement of lever responding were examined in sham-operated, vehicle-treated (SH + VEH), ovariectomized (OVX + VEH), and OVX female Wistar rats with estrogen replacement (OVX + EB). The effect of long- (64 ± 1.56 days) and short-term (9 days) EB treatment on reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior was compared in Experiment 1 and 2, respectively, in order to compare the effect of EB when it was present during the development vs. expression of reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior. Rats were trained to self-administer 0.4 mg/kg/inf cocaine. After the acquisition criteria were met, rats continued to respond for cocaine for 2 h/day for a 14-day maintenance period. Cocaine was then replaced with saline and the 21-day extinction period commenced. Subsequently, rats were tested for reinstatement of lever responding on the previously drug-paired lever after alternating daily injections of saline or cocaine. In both experiments, there were no differences between groups in self-administration behavior during training, maintenance, or extinction. In Experiment 1, SH + VEH and chronically treated OVX + EB rats had greater cocaine-induced reinstatement than OVX + VEH rats. In Experiment 2, short-term treated OVX + EB rats also showed enhanced cocaine-induced reinstatement compared to OVX + VEH rats. The results indicate that EB-mediated enhancement of cocaine-induced reinstatement is dependent on EB presence during the expression of reinstatement but not during the formation of stimulus-reward associations during the development of cocaine-reinforced behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-108
Number of pages11
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005


  • Cocaine
  • Estrogen
  • Female
  • Reinstatement
  • Self-administration

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