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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2002 Nov;27(5):727-43.

Selective blockade of drug-induced place preference conditioning by ACPC, a functional NDMA-receptor antagonist.

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Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow, Poland.


ACPC (1-aminocyclopropanecarboxylic acid) is a partial agonist at the strychnine-insensitive glycine receptor site on the NMDA receptor complex, and a functional NMDA antagonist. A series of experiments was conducted to assess the effects of ACPC in a biased place conditioning paradigm. As previously reported, ACPC itself did not support either appetitive or aversive place conditioning. However, co-administration of ACPC (200 mg/kg) blocked the acquisition of place preferences conditioned using a variety of psychoactive drugs (amphetamine, cocaine, nomifensine, diazepam, morphine, nicotine). No tolerance was seen to this effect following two weeks of chronic ACPC administration. Overall, ACPC did not affect the expression of place conditioning when administered immediately before the post-conditioning test. However, these effects appeared somewhat variable between drugs, and further analysis showed that ACPC did block the expression of preferences conditioned with some drugs (diazepam, morphine, nicotine), but not others (amphetamine, cocaine, nomifensine). The effects of ACPC could not be accounted for by state dependence, as ACPC blocked morphine and cocaine place preferences when administered during both the acquisition and the expression phase of conditioning. In contrast to the blockade by ACPC of drug-induced place preferences, ACPC had no effect on the acquisition of place preferences conditioned using a variety of natural non-drug reinforcers (food, sucrose, social interaction, novelty). ACPC also had no effect on the acquisition of drug-induced place aversions (naloxone, picrotoxin). Thus, ACPC selectively blocked appetitive conditioning by drug reinforcers, without affecting either appetitive conditioning by natural reinforcers or drug-induced aversions. As place preference conditioning has been demonstrated to have high predictive validity for detecting compounds with an abuse potential in humans, this selective action suggests that ACPC might have some clinical utility in the treatment of addiction, without affecting responses to natural rewards.

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