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eNeuro. 2018 Apr 6;5(2). pii: ENEURO.0433-17.2018. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0433-17.2018. eCollection 2018 Mar-Apr.

Brain Activity during Methamphetamine Anticipation in a Non-Invasive Self-Administration Paradigm in Mice.

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Department of Psychology, Barnard College, New York, NY 10027.
Centro de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, Veracruz 91190, México.
Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.
Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University Health Sciences, New York, NY 10027.


The ability to sense time and anticipate events is critical for survival. Learned responses that allow anticipation of the availability of food or water have been intensively studied. While anticipatory behaviors also occur prior to availability of regularly available rewards, there has been relatively little work on anticipation of drugs of abuse, specifically methamphetamine (MA). In the present study, we used a protocol that avoided possible CNS effects of stresses of handling or surgery by testing anticipation of MA availability in animals living in their home cages, with daily voluntary access to the drug at a fixed time of day. Anticipation was operationalized as the amount of wheel running prior to MA availability. Mice were divided into four groups given access to either nebulized MA or water, in early or late day. Animals with access to MA, but not water controls, showed anticipatory activity, with more anticipation in early compared to late day and significant interaction effects. Next, we explored the neural basis of the MA anticipation, using c-FOS expression, in animals euthanized at the usual time of nebulization access. In the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), the pattern of c-FOS expression paralleled that of anticipatory behavior, with significant main and interaction effects of treatment and time of day. The results for the lateral septum (LS) were significant for main effects and marginally significant for interaction effects. These studies suggest that anticipation of MA is associated with activation of brain regions important in circadian timing, emotional regulation, and decision making.


anticipation; circadian; dorsomedial hypothalamus; lateral septum; nebulization; orbitofrontal cortex

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