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Dev Neurosci. 1998;20(6):525-32.

Dose-dependent effects of multiple acute cocaine injections on maternal behavior and aggression in Sprague-Dawley rats.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27599-7096, USA.


Rat dams, which had no prior drug treatment, were either nontreated controls or were injected subcutaneously 4 times during a 10-day period with a single dose of 30, 15 or 7.5 mg/kg of cocaine hydrochloride HCl, or normal saline. Injections were given immediately postpartum following delivery of their final pup (PPD 1), and again on postpartum day 3 (PPD 3), postpartum day 6 (PPD 6) and postpartum day 10 (PPD 10). Dams were observed 30 min following injections for maternal behavior (MB) towards 8 surrogate male pups on PPD 1 and PPD 3 and for aggression towards a male or female intruder in the presence of their litter on PPD 6 and PPD 10. Compared to saline and untreated controls, cocaine-treated dams exhibited more disruptions in MB on both PPD 1 and PPD 3 and were less aggressive towards an intruder, regardless of intruder sex, on PPD 6 and PPD 10. In most cases MB was altered in a dose-dependent manner with the higher doses of cocaine resulting in a greater disruption of behavior.

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