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Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2001 Sep;47(6):1089-95.

Sex differences in cocaine-induced behavioral sensitization.

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Department of Psychology, Hunter College, City University of New York, NY 10021, USA.


To further understand how sex differences affect the development and maintenance of sensitization, 48 adult Fischer rats (24 female and 24 male) received chronic administration (14 days) of cocaine (15 mg/kg, i.p.) or saline or a challenge dose (7 days after chronic cocaine administration). Sex differences were observed in the development and maintenance of cocaine-induced total locomotor, ambulatory and rearing activity. Although, overall cocaine administration increased stereotypic activity in both male and female rats, female rats had significantly higher stereotypic activity than male rats across the three behavioral test days (1, 7 and 14). Female rats had statistically significant higher benzoylecognine levels after acute cocaine administration than male rats. However, no differences between male and female rats in benzoylecognine plasma levels were observed after chronic and challenge doses of cocaine administration. Interestingly, after acute and challenge cocaine administration, corticosterone levels were significantly higher in female rats when compared to male rats. This study confirms previous reports that there are sex differences in the behavioral response to cocaine. Moreover, this study expands previous studies by demonstrating that sex differences occur in only certain aspects of cocaine-induced behavioral activation and the development and maintenance of cocaine-induced behavioral sensitization.

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