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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2001 Jan;68(1):71-80.

Cocaine induces conditioned place preference and increases locomotor activity in male Japanese quail.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, 219 Kastle Hall, Lexington, KY 40506-0044, USA.


The conditioned place preference (CPP) procedure is a popular method used for testing the rewarding properties of human drugs of abuse. Most CPP studies utilize mammalian models. However, avian species have better visual systems than rodent species, and because the cues that become associated with human drug-taking behavior are often visual, Aves might serve as an alternative animal model for investigating drugs of abuse. In three experiments, we examined the locomotor stimulant and rewarding effects of cocaine in adult male Japanese quail. In Experiment 1, cocaine increased locomotor activity relative to saline. In addition, behavioral sensitization was evident across repeated injections. In Experiment 2, CPP was established after six pairings of cocaine. Finally, the dopamine D(2) receptor subtype antagonist eticlopride did not attenuate acquisition of cocaine CPP in Experiment 3. Rather, subjects receiving pretreatment of eticlopride demonstrated a place preference for the cocaine-paired context. In contrast, pretreatment of eticlopride reduced cocaine-induced locomotor activity. The findings suggest that drug-reward processes may be highly conserved across species and that birds may serve as a viable model for investigating drug-reward processes especially with regard to the ability of cocaine to become associated with visual cues.

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