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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013 Mar;226(2):217-28. doi: 10.1007/s00213-012-2890-y. Epub 2012 Oct 24.

A classically conditioned cocaine cue acquires greater control over motivated behavior in rats prone to attribute incentive salience to a food cue.

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1
Department of Psychology-Biopsychology Program, The University of Michigan, 530 Church St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Cues associated with rewards bias attention towards them and can motivate drug-seeking and drug-taking behavior. There is, however, considerable individual variation in the extent to which cues associated with rewards acquire motivational properties. For example, only in some rats does a localizable food cue become attractive, eliciting approach towards it, and "wanted", in the sense that it serves as an effective conditioned reinforcer.

OBJECTIVES:

We asked whether the propensity of animals to attribute incentive salience to a food cue predicts the extent to which a classically conditioned cocaine cue acquires incentive motivational properties.

METHODS:

First, a Pavlovian conditioned approach procedure was used to identify rats prone to attribute incentive salience to a food cue. We then measured the extent to which a classically conditioned cocaine cue acquired two properties of an incentive stimulus: (1) the ability to elicit approach towards it, and (2) the ability to reinstate drug-seeking behavior, using an extinction-reinstatement procedure (i.e., to act as a conditioned reinforcer).

RESULTS:

We found that a classically conditioned cocaine cue became more attractive, in that it elicited greater approach toward it, and more desired, in that it supported more drug-seeking behavior under extinction conditions, in individuals prone to attribute incentive salience to a food cue.

CONCLUSIONS:

We conclude that rats vary in their propensity to attribute incentive salience to both food and cocaine cues, and it is possible to predict, prior to any drug experience, in which rats a cocaine cue will acquire the strongest motivational control over behavior.

PMID:
23093382
PMCID:
PMC3570662
DOI:
10.1007/s00213-012-2890-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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