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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013 Mar;226(1):45-51. doi: 10.1007/s00213-012-2882-y. Epub 2012 Sep 26.

Exaggerated cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking but not incubation of cocaine craving in a developmental rat model of schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 20 Penn St, HSFII, Room S251, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.



Patients with schizophrenia exhibit high comorbidity for substance abuse, but the biological underpinnings of this dual-diagnosis condition are still unclear. Previous studies have shown that rats with a neonatal ventral hippocampal lesion (NVHL), a widely used developmental animal model of schizophrenia, exhibit increased cocaine and methamphetamine self-administration and cocaine-induced reinstatement.


Here, we assessed whether a NVHL would also potentiate cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking and the time-dependent increases in cue-induced cocaine seeking after withdrawal (incubation of cocaine craving) in adult rats.


Rats were trained to self-administer cocaine (3 or 6 h/day with 0.75 mg kg(-1) infusion(-1) paired with a tone-light cue) for 10 days, followed by extinction training (3 h/day) and cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking. Other rats were tested for incubation of cocaine craving, assessed in extinction tests 1 and 30 days after the last self-administration session.


Although there was no significant difference in cocaine intake between NVHL and sham controls, NVHL rats took significantly longer to reach an a priori set extinction criterion and exhibited enhanced cue-induced reinstatement. However, while cue-induced cocaine seeking was higher after 30 days than after 1 day of withdrawal (incubation of cocaine craving), the NVHL had no effect on this incubation.


These data confirm previous reports on enhanced resistance to extinction after NVHL and demonstrate that NVHL rats exhibit enhanced cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking after extinction, a measure of drug relapse.

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