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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Issues in the pharmacological modification of cocaine conditioning: evidence that the stimulus properties of drugs can interact with contextual cues to activate or inactivate cocaine conditioned stimuli.

Cocaine conditioned stimuli are capable of eliciting cocaine craving in individuals with a history of cocaine use. As a consequence, there have been a number of attempts using animal models to identify pharmacological treatments which can attenuate cocaine conditioned effects. The emphasis in these studies has been to employ drug doses which do not have response effects that could directly alter the conditioned drug response. A drug treatment may not have a response effect but still have drug stimulus effects which could interact with and modify the cocaine conditioned stimulus. In order to experimentally investigate this important issue, two experiments are reported. In one experiment, rats were co-administered 0.1 mg/kg MK-801 either with cocaine (10 mg/kg) or with saline; in the other experiment 3.0 mg/kg buspirone was co-administered with either cocaine (10 mg/kg) or with saline. The MK-801 and buspirone treatments did not affect spontaneous activity levels or alter the unconditioned cocaine stimulant effect. In tests for conditioning, however, the effects of buspirone and MK-801 depended upon their association with cocaine. If MK-801 and buspirone had no association with cocaine then these drugs inactivated the cocaine conditioned stimulant response. If MK-801 and buspirone had been co-administered with cocaine, then, in saline conditioning tests, no cocaine conditioning was observed. If the conditioning tests were conducted following MK-801 or buspirone treatment, however, cocaine conditioning was elicited. Altogether, these studies demonstrate that the stimulus properties of drugs can interact with contextual stimuli to inactivate or activate cocaine conditioned stimuli. In the search for drugs which may prevent cocaine craving, therefore, the stimulus properties of drugs provide an important mechanism for the modification of cocaine conditioned stimuli.[1]


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