Two experiments were conducted to determine whether measures of saccharin intake could be used as a predictor of intravenous cocaine self-administration. Saccharin avidity, defined as the ratio of total daily fluid intake when saccharin and water were available to total intake when only water was available, was measured in male rats. Cocaine self-administration (0.4 mg/ kg/infusion) was subsequently measured in an initial 18-h session, followed by daily l-h sessions in which the infusion dose and tile reinforcement schedule were varied. In the initial overnight session, some rats obtained the maximum or near-maximum number of infusions; this high level of cocaine intake was unrelated to saccharin avidity. In the remaining rats, there was a pattern somewhat resembling an 'inverted-U.' in which rats with low or high avidity self-administered less cocaine than those with intermediate avidity, This pattern reemerged later in the experiment when rats were tested at a low cocaine infusion dose combined with a FR-6 reinforcement schedule. In a second experiment, no significant relationship was observed between the self-administration of a lower cocaine dose (0.125 mg/kg/infusion) and avidity for either saccharin or the artificial sweetener SC-45637, Although these results are consistent with a previous report indicating no simple relationship between saccharin preference and the acquisition of cocaine self-administration, they do suggest that a more complex relationship may be observed under some conditions. Additional research with other drugs, as well as with caloric and noncaloric sweeteners, will be needed to determine the usefulness of taste measures in identifying or treating substance abuse.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was performed at the University of Wisconsin and was supported by NIDA Grants DA05471 and DA00210. We thank Drs. Vicktoria Danilova and Goran Hellekant for providing SC-45647.
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