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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2011 Mar;98(1):54-61. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2010.11.024. Epub 2010 Dec 9.

Music and methamphetamine: conditioned cue-induced increases in locomotor activity and dopamine release in rats.

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Center for Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY 12208, USA.


Associations between drugs of abuse and cues facilitate the acquisition and maintenance of addictive behaviors. Although significant research has been done to elucidate the role that simple discriminative or discrete conditioned stimuli (e.g., a tone or a light) play in addiction, less is known about complex environmental cues. The purpose of the present study was to examine the role of a musical conditioned stimulus by assessing locomotor activity and in vivo microdialysis. Two groups of rats were given non-contingent injections of methamphetamine (1.0 mg/kg) or vehicle and placed in standard conditioning chambers. During these conditioning sessions both groups were exposed to a continuous conditioned stimulus, in the form of a musical selection ("Four" by Miles Davis) played repeatedly for 90 min. After seven consecutive conditioning days subjects were given one day of rest, and subsequently tested for locomotor activity or dopamine release in the absence of drugs while the musical conditioned stimulus was continually present. The brain regions examined included the basolateral amygdala, nucleus accumbens, and prefrontal cortex. The results show that music is an effective contextual conditioned stimulus, significantly increasing locomotor activity after repeated association with methamphetamine. Furthermore, this musical conditioned stimulus significantly increased extracellular dopamine levels in the basolateral amygdala and nucleus accumbens. These findings support other evidence showing the importance of these brain regions in conditioned learning paradigms, and demonstrate that music is an effective conditioned stimulus warranting further investigation.

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