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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2007 Oct 8;90(2-3):193-202. Epub 2007 Apr 23.

Contextual renewal of cocaine seeking in rats and its attenuation by the conditioned effects of an alternative reinforcer.

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Psychology Department, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016, United States.


The present experiment investigated contextual renewal of cocaine seeking and potential methods of attenuating this renewal. Rats were first trained in one context to self-administer cocaine when a discriminative stimulus (tone) was presented. Then, the ABA Group was placed in a second context and responses in tone no longer produced cocaine (extinction). The AAA Group received this extinction in the original context. For two additional groups, responding to the tone was eliminated in a second context by additionally presenting food in tone according to a differential-reinforcement-of-other-behavior (DRO Group) schedule or independently of the rats' behavior on a fixed-time (FT Group) schedule. Renewal of responding to the tone was observed when the ABA Group was returned to the original context for a renewal test, but no renewal was observed in the AAA Group. Renewal also occurred in the DRO and FT Groups upon returning to the original context, but this renewal was significantly less than that of the ABA Group. These results suggest that response elimination techniques that are more active than simple extinction, such as pairing drug-related stimuli with alternative reinforcement, could reduce renewal of drug seeking and thereby help prevent relapse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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