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Life Sci. 1983 Aug 22;33(8):779-87.

Complete, reversible, drug-specific tolerance to stimulation of locomotor activity by caffeine.


The development of tolerance to caffeine-induced stimulation of locomotor activity was evaluated in rats maintained chronically on average daily doses of 160 mg/kg or more of caffeine by the method of scheduled access to drinking water containing the drug. Dose-response curves were determined for caffeine (6.25-100 mg/kg) and d-amphetamine (0.39-6.4 mg/kg) during chronic drug treatment. In addition, the caffeine curve was redetermined 2-3 weeks after removal of the drug from the drinking water. A control group that had scheduled access to drug-free tap water was also tested. Caffeine produced dose-related increases in the locomotor activity of the controls but failed to modify locomotor activity of the chronic caffeine group. In contrast, d-amphetamine increased locomotor activity of both groups comparably. Spontaneous locomotor of the chronic caffeine group was reduced significantly for 4 days after drug-free tap water was substituted for the caffeine solution. The return of spontaneous locomotor activity to baseline values was associated with restored sensitivity to caffeine-induced stimulation of locomotor activity. Thus, chronic administration of caffeine to rats results in the development of tolerance to caffeine-induced stimulation of locomotor activity that is virtually complete, pharmacologically specific, and fully reversible when drug treatment is stopped. Decreases in spontaneous locomotor activity after abrupt termination of chronic caffeine administration follow a time course consistent with a drug withdrawal syndrome.

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