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Curr Protoc Pharmacol. 2011 Dec;Chapter 10:Unit10.5. doi: 10.1002/0471141755.ph1005s56.

Models of neurological disease (substance abuse): self-administration in monkeys.

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New England Primate Research Center/Harvard Medical School, Southborough, Massachusetts, USA.


Drug self-administration is a procedure in which a subject performs a specified response that results in the delivery of a drug injection. This procedure is viewed as a relevant model for the study of human drug-taking behavior. Drug self-administration in primates has several characteristics that resemble drug-taking behavior in humans, and agents commonly abused by humans also generally maintain self-administration behavior in monkeys. Self-administration procedures allow for the study of a variety of drug properties. For instance, they can be used to investigate the abuse potential of new compounds and to study the effects of candidate medications for the treatment of drug addiction. These procedures can also be employed for examining drug reinforcement mechanisms. Described in this unit are procedures for studying intravenous drug self-administration in large primates, such as rhesus macaques, and smaller primates, such as squirrel monkeys.

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