Effects of Progesterone on the Reinstatement of Cocaine-Seeking Behavior in Female Rats

Justin J Anker, Erin B Larson, Luke A. Gliddon, Marilyn E Carroll

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93 Scopus citations


Estradiol benzoate (EB) facilitates the acquisition and reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior when administered to ovariectomized (OVX) rats. In contrast, progesterone (P) decreases acquisition of cocaine self-administration, but the effects of P on the reinstatement of drug seeking are not known. The purpose of the present study was to compare the effects of EB and P on the reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior in female rats. Rats received either OVX or sham surgery (SH) and were trained to lever press for intravenous cocaine infusions (0.4 mg/kg) under a fixed ratio 1, 20-s time-out schedule during daily 2-hr sessions. After 14 days of stable responding, saline replaced cocaine, and a 21-day extinction period began. After extinction, rats were separated into 5 treatment groups (OVX + EB, OVX + EB + P, OVX + vehicle [VEH], SH + P, or SH + VEH), and VEH, EB, or EB + P was administered 30 min prior to each session for 5 days. After 3 days of hormone treatment, rats received a saline or cocaine (10 mg/kg) injection, and reinstatement of lever responding was assessed. Reinstatement responding in the OVX + EB group was greater relative to the OVX + EB + P, SH + P, and OVX+VEH groups, which had low levels of cocaine-primed responding. The SH + VEH and OVX + EB groups displayed similar high levels of cocaine-elicited reinstatement. The suppression of cocaine-induced reinstatement following P treatment suggests a role for P in the prevention of relapse to cocaine self-administration in female cocaine users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)472-480
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • cocaine
  • female
  • progesterone
  • reinstatement
  • self-administration


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