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Nat Protoc. 2006;1(3):1194-206.

Using drug-discrimination techniques to study the abuse-related effects of psychoactive drugs in rats.

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Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique UMR 6187, University of Poitiers, 40 Avenue du Recteur Pineau, 86022 Poitiers Cedex, France.


Drug-discrimination (DD) techniques can be used to study abuse-related effects by establishing the interoceptive effects of a training drug (e.g., cocaine) as a cue for performing a specific operant response (e.g., lever pressing reinforced by food). During training with this protocol, pressing one lever is reinforced when the training drug is injected before the start of the session, and responding on a second lever is reinforced when vehicle is injected before the session. Lever choice during test sessions can then be used as an indication of whether a novel drug has effects similar to the training drug, or whether a potential therapeutic alters the effects of the training drug. Although training can be lengthy (up to several months), the pharmacological specificity of DD procedures make them a perfect complement to other techniques used to study drug-abuse phenomena, such as intravenous self-administration and conditioned place-preference procedures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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