Degree Year

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Neuroscience

Advisor(s)

Tracie A. Paine

Committee Member(s)

Katherine Caldwell
Janice Thornton

Keywords

Cocaine, Addiction, Hyperactivity, Pavlovian conditioning

Abstract

Cocaine addiction is associated with an extremely high rate of relapse, the resumption of drug taking behavior following a period of abstinence. Relapse may be induced by exposure to drug-associated cues, stress, or drug challenge. Rodent models of addiction investigate reinstatement, the resumption of drug-seeking behavior following a period of abstinence. This study investigated the necessary procedures for establishing Pavlovian conditioning between a discrete sensory cue and cocaine stimulant effects (15.0 mg/kg, IP). Successful conditioning was indicated by cue induced conditioned hyperactivity. In Experiment 1, a simple discrete visual cue failed to be attributed salience. Cocaine-treated rats showed heightened locomotor activity independent of cue condition, suggestive of contextual conditioning. Experiment 2 replaced the simple visual cue with a compound auditory/visual cue and implemented various procedural adaptations to prevent contextual conditioning; comparable results were observed. Experiment 3 introduced an alternating cue conditioning/no cue conditioning training regimen with 6 drug-cue pairings over 12 days. This alternating training procedure minimized contextual conditioning and resulted in successful attribution of salience to the discrete cue for tests after 3, 14, and 28 days of withdrawal. This study suggests that an alternating drug-cue pairing training procedure can be used to establish conditioned locomotor activity specific to a discrete compound sensory cue in Sprague-Dawley rats.

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