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Neuroreport. 2014 Mar 26;25(5):297-302. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000000084.

Cue-induced renewal of heroin place preference: involvement of the basolateral amygdala.

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Department of Psychology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.


It is well established that re-exposure to a context paired with the effects of drugs of abuse can renew extinguished drug seeking behavior. A context, however, typically includes several stimuli, which may differ in their ability to control drug-oriented behaviors. Hence, the primary objective of this study was to assess whether a heroin-induced place preference could be recovered by re-exposure to a contextual stimulus that was part of the conditioning context before extinction. The second objective was to explore the role of the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) in this conditioned effect. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were injected with 3 mg/kg heroin and confined in a compartment that was distinguished by a variety of contextual stimuli, including a ceramic floor tile. During extinction, the floor stimulus was removed, and it was reintroduced for a drug-free test of preference. A control experiment evaluated the unconditioned preference for the floor stimulus. It was found that reintroduction of the floor stimulus caused the recovery of heroin place preference. This effect was not observed in rats infused in the BLA with muscimol (0.03 nmol) and baclofen (0.3 nmol) just prior to the test. These data suggest that an extinguished heroin place preference can be renewed by a contextual tactual stimulus that was part of the conditioning context, and that this process requires an intact BLA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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