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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 Apr;75(1):199-208.

Facilitation of electrical brain self-stimulation behavior by abused solvents.

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Department of Psychopharmacology, Institute of Pharmacology, Pavlov Medical University, 6/8 Lev Tolstoy Street, St. Petersburg 197089, Russia. ABESPALOV@SPMU.RSSI.RU


Animal models are needed to study the abuse-related behavioral and pharmacological effects of inhaled solvents. Previous studies have suggested that intracranial self-stimulation techniques may be successfully adapted for testing the effects of solvent exposure. The present study aimed to assess the effects of toluene, cyclohexane, acetone, and petroleum benzine (a widely used mixture of hexanes and heptanes) in rats trained to lever press or nose-poke for electrical stimulation delivered through electrodes implanted into the medial forebrain bundle. It was found that toluene, cyclohexane, and benzine but not acetone, increased rates of responding, particularly at the lower stimulation intensities. In another set of experiments utilizing an auto-titration procedure, all tested solvents significantly reduced self-stimulation thresholds. However, only for toluene and benzine were these effects observed at the exposure levels that did not impair rates of operant performance. There may not be such a clear separation of effects for acetone and cyclohexane. Thus, toluene and benzine appear to selectively affect brain reward systems in a manner similar to that for most other abused drugs. Data from intracranial self-stimulation studies of solvents may be useful in abuse potential assessment of individual compounds and for examining neural and behavioral processes involved in inhalant abuse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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