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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1997 Feb;129(3):206-14.

Acquisition of i.v. amphetamine and cocaine self-administration in rats as a function of dose.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnosota Medical School, Minneapolis 55455, USA.


The effect of dose on the acquisition of i.v. amphetamine and cocaine self-administration was examined. Three unit doses of amphetamine (0.03, 0.06 and 0.12 mg/kg) and three unit doses of cocaine (0.05, 0.2 and 0.8 mg/kg) were tested in separate groups of ten (amphetamine) or 13 (cocaine) rats. Autoshaping methods were used to train rats to press a lever that resulted in drug infusion under a fixed-ratio (FR) 1 schedule. A daily 6-h autoshaping component non-contingently delivered 60 infusions according to a 60-s random time schedule with ten infusions delivered during the first half of each h. Each day autoshaping sessions were followed by a 6-h self-administration session. The criterion for acquisition was a 5-day period during which a daily mean of 100, 50 or 25 infusions for the three amphetamine doses and 400, 100 or 25 infusions were earned during the 6-h self-administration period for the three cocaine doses, respectively. As dose increased, more rats per group acquired drug self-administration and the mean number of days to meet the acquisition criterion decreased. The percentage of rats acquiring amphetamine self-administration increased with dose and ranged from 80 to 100%. Only one rat at the lowest cocaine dose met the acquisition criterion, but 100 percent of the rats at the two higher doses acquired. During the last 2 days of acquisition, mean infusions decreased and mean drug intake (mg/kg) increased as dose increased. On the last day of acquisition, the time course of infusions during the 6-h self-administration component was characterized by a steady rate of infusions per hour, and number of infusions was inversely related to dose. These findings indicate that the initial available dose of a drug is an important determinant of the rate and probability that successful acquisition will occur.

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