Effects of food deprivation on cocaine base smoking in rhesus monkeys

S. D. Comer, D. M. Turner, M. E. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Studies have shown that both food deprivation and response cost have important influences on the magnitude of self-administration of a wide variety of psychoactive drugs. In an attempt to extend these findings to the smoked route of drug self-administration, the effects of food allotment and fixed-ratio (FR) value were evaluated in four male rhesus monkeys trained to smoke cocaine base. In the first phase of the experiment, monkeys were trained to self-administer smoked cocaine base under a chained progressive-ratio (PR), fixed-ratio (FR) schedule during daily experimental sessions. Monkeys were required to make 20 lever-press responses and then five inhalations on a smoking spout to obtain the first smoke delivery. The lever ratio then increased to 60, 140, 300, 620, 1260, 2540, and 4940 for each successive smoke delivery. The initial lever ratio value was reset to 20 at the beginning of each daily session. The body weights of three monkeys were determined under free-feeding conditions. Monkeys were then restricted to 100 g food and, when body weights had stabilized, the daily food allotment was increased to 150 g, approximately 210 g, or greater than 400 g (satiation). As the daily food allotment and body weight increased, the mean number of smoke deliveries decreased in two of three monkeys. In the second phase of the experiment, three monkeys were maintained under either food-satiated or food-restricted conditions. Body weights were maintained at approximately 90% of their free-feeding weights under food-restricted conditions. The cost of the drug (lever FR value) was constant within each experimental session, but was increased after 3 consecutive days of stable responding. Fixed-ratio values were increased from 128 to 256, 512, 1024, and 2048. Monkeys were required to complete the lever FR value and then to make five inhalations on the smoking spout to gain access to 1.0 mg/kg per delivery cocaine base. The mean number of smoke deliveries increased at FR 256, 512, and 1024 when monkeys were food-restricted as opposed to food-satiated. Correspondingly, the mean number of responses increased under food-restricted conditions. Responding continued to increase over a wider range of FR values, and the peak number of responses was higher under food-restricted, as opposed to food-satiated conditions. These results, using the smoking route of administration, are consistent with the hypothesis that food deprivation increases the self-administration of reinforcing drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-132
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1995


  • Cocaine base
  • Crack
  • Drug self-administration
  • Fixed ratio
  • Food deprivation
  • Food satiation
  • Progressive ratio
  • Reinforcing efficacy
  • Rhesus monkeys
  • Smoking


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