Escalation of i.v. cocaine self-administration and reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior in rats bred for high and low saccharin intake

Jennifer L. Perry, Andrew D. Morgan, Justin J Anker, Nancy K. Dess, Marilyn E Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Rationale: Rats selectively bred for high saccharin (HiS) intake consume more alcohol, acquire intravenous (i.v.) cocaine self-administration more rapidly, and show more dysregulated patterns of cocaine self-administration than their low saccharin-consuming (LoS) counterparts. Objectives: The purpose of the present study was to determine whether HiS and LoS rats also differ in the escalation, maintenance, extinction, and reinstatement of i.v. cocaine self-administration. Materials and methods: Two experiments were conducted in separate groups of rats. In the first experiment, HiS and LoS female rats were allowed to self-administer cocaine [0.4 mg/kg; fixed ratio (FR) 1] under short (ShA, 2 h per day) or long (LgA, 12 h per day) access conditions for 21 days. Session lengths were subsequently equated (2 h), and FR1-maintained cocaine self-administration was examined. In the second experiment, additional groups of HiS and LoS female rats were given access to cocaine (0.4 mg/kg; FR 1) self-administration during 2-h sessions for 10 days. Subsequently, saline was substituted for cocaine, and responding was extinguished. After a 14-day extinction period, saline- and cocaine-[5, 10, and 15 mg/kg, intraperitoneal (i.p.)] induced reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior was measured. Results: HiS LgA rats escalated their cocaine intake more rapidly than LoS rats, and during the 2 h sessions after escalation cocaine self-administration was significantly higher in HiS LgA rats, compared to LoS LgA rats. HiS rats responded on the cocaine-paired lever more than LoS rats during maintenance, extinction, and cocaine-(15 mg/kg) induced reinstatement. Conclusions: These results suggest that HiS and LoS rats have distinct drug-seeking and drug-taking profiles. The HiS and LoS rats differ along a wide range of behavioral dimensions and represent an important model to study the interactions of excessive intake of dietary substances and vulnerability to drug abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-245
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank Erin B. Larson, Jennifer Newman, Ph.D., and Jason T. Ross, M.A., for careful reading of this manuscript, and Annemarie K. Loth, Sarah E. Nelson, and Marissa M. Anderson for their technical assistance. This work was supported by NIH grants T32 DA07097 (ADM), R01 DA03240 (MEC), and K05 DA15267 (MEC).


  • Cocaine
  • Escalation
  • Extinction
  • Genetic
  • Intravenous
  • Maintenance
  • Reinstatement
  • Selective breeding
  • Self-administration


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