Author(s): Brabant C, Quertemont E, Tirelli E
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Abstract RATIONALE: The place conditioning procedure is increasingly used to study relapse in drug seeking in mice. However, the retention course of drug-induced place preference has not been systematically characterized. METHODS: The effects of cocaine doses and number of conditioning trials on both the magnitude and the persistence of cocaine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) were investigated in C57BL/6J mice. Twelve groups of animals were injected with saline, 4, 8 or 12 mg/kg cocaine (i.p.) and submitted to an unbiased counterbalanced place conditioning protocol including one, two or four drug-pairing sessions. Subsequently, the animals were tested at various time intervals after the last conditioning session. RESULTS: One cocaine-pairing session was insufficient to induce a CPP. Two and four pairing sessions resulted in significant place preferences of similar magnitude for all tested doses of cocaine, the place preference induced by the greatest number of pairing sessions being the strongest. In the two-pairing groups, place preference lasted less than 14 days for any tested dose of cocaine. In contrast, all four-pairing groups still showed significant place preference 28 days after the last conditioning session. However, the magnitude of cocaine place preference slowly declined at a rate that was dependent upon cocaine dose. On the 35-day post-conditioning interval, only the 12-mg/kg cocaine group still displayed a significant place preference, whereas place preference was undetectable at 42 and 56 days post-conditioning for all groups. CONCLUSIONS: The number of cocaine-pairing sessions, but not cocaine dose, affected the magnitude of cocaine place preference in mice when tested 1 day after the last conditioning session. In contrast, both cocaine doses and the number of pairing sessions affected the persistence of cocaine place preference. Overall, these results demonstrate that cocaine-induced place preference is a long lasting phenomenon that is strongly affected by the number of drug-pairing trials.
This article was published in Psychopharmacology (Berl)
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy