Determinants of conditioned reinforcing effectiveness: Dopamine D2-like receptor agonist-stimulated responding for cocaine-associated stimuli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Environmental stimuli associated with drug use can take on conditioned properties capable of promoting drug-seeking behaviors during abstinence. This study investigated the relative importance of the amount of reinforced responding, number of cocaine-stimulus pairings, total cocaine intake, and reinforcing effectiveness of the self-administered dose of cocaine to the conditioned reinforcing effectiveness of cocaine-associated stimuli (CS). Male rats were trained to self-administer cocaine (0.1 [small] or 1.0 mg/kg/inf [large]) under a fixed ratio schedule of reinforcement. A progressive ratio (PR) schedule was used to quantify the reinforcing effectiveness of each dose of cocaine, as well as the conditioned reinforcing effectiveness of the CS following treatment with saline or the dopamine D2-like receptor agonist pramipexole (0.1-3.2 mg/kg). The large dose of cocaine maintained larger final ratios and greater levels of cocaine intake, whereas the small dose resulted in more cocaine-CS pairings. The total amount of responding was comparable between groups. During PR tests of conditioned reinforcement, pramipexole increased responding for CS presentations in both groups; however, the final ratio completed was significantly greater in large- as compared to small-dose group. In addition to highlighting a central role for dopamine D2-like receptors in modulating the effectiveness of cocaine-paired stimuli to reinforce behavior, these results suggest that conditioned reinforcing effectiveness is primarily determined by the reinforcing effectiveness of the self-administered dose of cocaine and/or total cocaine intake, and not the total amount of responding or number cocaine-stimulus pairings. These findings have implications for understanding how different patterns of drug-taking might impact vulnerability to relapse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-249
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Volume769
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2015

Keywords

  • Cocaine self-administration
  • Conditioned reinforcement
  • Dopamine D-like receptors
  • Pramipexole

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Determinants of conditioned reinforcing effectiveness: Dopamine D<sub>2</sub>-like receptor agonist-stimulated responding for cocaine-associated stimuli'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this