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

Cocaine-conditioned behavioral effects: a role for habituation processes.

Cocaine has potent locomotor stimulant effects in rodents, which seemingly can become conditioned to test environment cues. In two experimental protocols, we measured the effects of cocaine on locomotor activity and grooming behavior, and subsequently tested whether these cocaine effects became conditioned to contextual cues. In the first experiment, three groups of rats received 14 injections of either saline or cocaine (10 mg/kg) paired or unpaired to the test environment. Cocaine increased locomotion and decreased grooming during treatment and on the conditioning test. Over the course of the treatment phase, however, the saline- and cocaine-unpaired groups but not the cocaine paired group developed progressively lower locomotion and higher grooming scores indicative of substantial habituation effects. To examine whether the cocaine may have impaired the acquisition of habituation effects rather than induce a Pavlovian cocaine conditioned response, an additional experiment was conducted in which two additional non-habituation saline and cocaine control groups were added to the experimental design. On a conditioning test, the two non-habituation control groups were equivalent in activity and grooming behavior to the cocaine-paired group. The findings were consistent with a failure by cocaine-paired animals to acquire habituation effects, which could transfer to the non-cocaine state. The connection between cocaine and novelty/habituation may have substantial importance for understanding cocaine effects.[1]


  1. Cocaine-conditioned behavioral effects: a role for habituation processes. Carey, R.J., DePalma, G., Damianopoulos, E. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. (2003) [Pubmed]
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