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Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2011 Aug;19(4):275-84. doi: 10.1037/a0023897.

A multivariate assessment of individual differences in sensation seeking and impulsivity as predictors of amphetamine self-administration and prefrontal dopamine function in rats.

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Discovery and Analytical Sciences, RTI, International, 3040 Cornwallis Road, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.


Drug abuse vulnerability has been linked to sensation seeking (behaviors likely to produce rewards) and impulsivity (behaviors occurring without foresight). Since previous preclinical work has been limited primarily to using single tasks as predictor variables, the present study determined if measuring multiple tasks of sensation seeking and impulsivity would be useful in predicting amphetamine self-administration in rats. Multiple tasks were also used as predictor variables of dopamine transporter function in the medial prefrontal and orbitofrontal cortexes, as these neural systems have been implicated in sensation seeking and impulsivity. Rats were tested on six behavioral tasks as predictor variables to evaluate sensation seeking (locomotor activity, novelty place preference, and sucrose reinforcement on a progressive ratio schedule) and impulsivity (delay discounting, cued go/no-go, and passive avoidance), followed by d-amphetamine self-administration (0.0056-0.1 mg/kg infusion) and kinetic analysis of dopamine transporter function as outcome variables. The combination of these predictor variables into a multivariate approach failed to yield any clear relationship among predictor and outcome measures. Using multivariate approaches to understand the relation between individual predictor and outcome variables in preclinical models may be hindered by alterations in behavior due to training and thus, the relation between various individual differences in behavior and drug self-administration may be better assessed using a univariate approach in which a only a single task is used as the predictor variable.

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