Send to

Choose Destination
J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1997 Jun;281(3):1401-7.

Glucocorticoids and behavioral effects of psychostimulants. II: cocaine intravenous self-administration and reinstatement depend on glucocorticoid levels.

Author information

Psychobiologie des Comportements adaptitifs, INSERM U259 Université deBordeaux II, France.


Observations suggest that corticosterone, the principal glucocorticoid hormone in the rat, can modulate the behavioral effects of drugs of abuse. In this report, the influence of corticosterone on intravenous self-administration of cocaine was studied. In the first experiment, cocaine intravenous self-administration in adrenalectomized rats and in adrenalectomized rats receiving corticosterone replacement treatments was studied as a function of corticosterone concentrations and as a function of cocaine doses (0.025, 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.8 mg/kg/infusion). In a second experiment, we tested, in intact rats, the effect of different doses of corticosterone (0.09, 0.18, 0.37, 0.58, 0.75 mg/kg) on the reinstatement of an extinguished cocaine self-administration behavior. It is reported that adrenalectomy markedly shifts the cocaine self-administration dose-effect curve downward. This effect was dose-dependently reversed by corticosterone; a complete restoration being obtained for corticosterone levels in the range of those induced by stress. Corticosterone administration also precipitated dose-dependently the reinstatement of cocaine self-administration. The maximal effect was obtained for a dose of corticosterone producing an increase in plasma levels similar to the increase produced by an intense stress. In conclusion, our results show that glucocorticoids facilitate the reinforcing effects of cocaine and support the hypothesis that glucocorticoids are one of the biological factors determining vulnerability to substance abuse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center