Juvenile stress increases cocaine-induced impulsivity in female rats
In humans, adverse childhood experiences are associated with an increased risk of developing a neuropsychiatric disorder. Changes in social behavior and cognitive function are hallmarks of numerous neuropsychiatric disorders. Here we examined the effects of exposure to variable stress during the juvenile period on social behavior, reward, and cognitive function (as measured in the 5-choice serial reaction time task (5CSRTT)) in rats. From postnatal days (PND) 25-29 male and female rats were exposed to a variable stress protocol. In adulthood, social interactions and sucrose preference were assessed prior to training on the 5CSRTT. Once successfully trained, rats were challenged with different task versions, and then the effects of cocaine (0, 10, or 20 mg/kg, IP) on performance were assessed. A follow-up experiment examined the ability of the D2 receptor antagonist eticlopride (0.0, 0.025, 0.05 mg/kg, IP) to block the effects of cocaine on 5CSRTT performance in female rats. Male rats exposed to juvenile stress tended to engage in less social behavior and had an increased correct response latency in the 5CSRTT following cocaine administration. Female rats exposed to juvenile stress exhibited a trend towards increased social behavior and demonstrated increased cocaine-induced impulsivity. The increase in impulsivity was not blocked by co-administration of eticlopride. Juvenile stress had minimal effects on adult behavior in male rats, but increased cocaine-induced impulsivity in female rats. Such an effect could contribute to the enhanced escalation of drug-use observed in females that experience juvenile stress. This possibility awaits further testing.
Paine, Tracie A., Sarah Brainard, Emma Keppler, et al. 2021. "Juvenile stress increases cocaine-induced impulsivity in female rats." Behavioural Brain Research 414: 113488.
Behavioural Brain Research
Early adverse experience, Premature responses, Cocaine, Social interaction, Reward