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Behav Pharmacol. 2011 Aug;22(4):312-23. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0b013e3283473be4.

A comparison of economic demand and conditioned-cued reinstatement of methamphetamine-seeking or food-seeking in rats.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina 29424, USA.


This study examined whether continued access to methamphetamine or food reinforcement changed economic demand for both. The relationship between demand elasticity and cue-induced reinstatement was also determined. Male Long-Evans rats were lever pressed under increasing fixed-ratio requirements for either food pellets or methamphetamine (20 μg/50 μl infusion). For two groups, demand curves were obtained before and after continued access (12 days, 2-h sessions) to the reinforcer under a fixed-ratio 3 schedule. A third group was given continued access to methamphetamine between determinations of food demand and a fourth group abstained from methamphetamine between determinations. All groups underwent extinction sessions, followed by a cue-induced reinstatement test. Although food demand was less elastic than methamphetamine demand, continued access to methamphetamine shifted the methamphetamine demand curve upward and the food demand curve downward. In some rats, methamphetamine demand also became less elastic. Continued access to food had no effect on food demand. Reinstatement was higher after continued access to methamphetamine relative to food. For methamphetamine, elasticity and reinstatement measures were correlated. Continued access to methamphetamine, but not food, alters demand in ways suggestive of methamphetamine accruing reinforcing strength. Demand elasticity thus provides a useful measure of abuse liability that may predict future relapse to renewed drug-seeking and drug use.

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