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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2008 Sep;90(3):497-500. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2008.04.012. Epub 2008 Apr 26.

Frequency of maternal licking and grooming correlates negatively with vulnerability to cocaine and alcohol use in rats.

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  • 1Deparment of Psychology, Berkeley, CA, USA.


Because licking and grooming behavior of dams with pups can influence some behaviors of pups when they are adults, we tested if licking and grooming scores in a maternal separation protocol correlated with cocaine or ethanol self-administration in the pups as adults. The protocol produced litters that were separated from dams for 0 (MS0), 15 (MS15) or 180 (MS180) min, and a nonhandled (NH) group as well. Self-administration of both drugs as shown in earlier studies was lowest in the MS15 group, highest in the NH group and intermediate in the other groups. Licking and grooming scores correlated negatively with drug intake and suggests that maternal care of pups can influence drug use in pups when they are adults.

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