Author(s): Zhao W, Becker JB
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Abstract Cocaine self-administration in rodents has been used widely as a preclinical model of cocaine use in humans. In laboratory animals, estradiol enhances behavioral sensitization to cocaine and the acquisition of cocaine self-administration in female rats. The rewarding effect of cocaine has been shown to be enhanced following behavioral sensitization in male rats. This experiment examined whether behavioral sensitization to cocaine would promote cocaine-taking behavior in female rats, and whether estradiol could further modulate cocaine-taking behavior in cocaine-sensitized rats. Ovariectomized female rats were pretreated with either cocaine or saline for 4 days per week for 3 weeks. Self-administration sessions started 2 weeks after the last dose of drug. Female Sprague-Dawley rats received either estradiol or oil 30 min prior to the start of each session and self-administration was carried out 5 days per week for 4 weeks. The dose of cocaine self-administered each week was as follows (in mg/kg/infusion): week 1, 0.1; week 2, 0.1; week 3, 0.15; and week 4, 0.4. The rats that received cocaine pretreatment took fewer days to acquire cocaine self-administration and took more cocaine than rats that received saline pretreatment. Estradiol enhanced cocaine intake during the last six self-administration sessions after acquisition but did not affect acquisition of self-administration at the lowest doses of cocaine used. In conclusion, cocaine sensitization promotes the acquisition of cocaine self-administration in female rats. Furthermore, prior cocaine experience is more powerful than estradiol at enhancing acquisition, while estradiol enhances intake of cocaine after acquisition of self-administration. Copyright 2009. Published by Elsevier Inc.
This article was published in Horm Behav
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy