Cunningham CL, Patel P. Rapid induction of Pavlovian approach to an ethanol-paired visual cue in mice. Psychopharmacology 192: 231-241

Department of Behavioral Neuroscience and Portland Alcohol Research Center, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239-3098, USA.
Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.88). 06/2007; 192(2):231-41. DOI: 10.1007/s00213-007-0704-4
Source: PubMed


Although many studies have shown Pavlovian conditioned approach to cues paired with natural reinforcers, it has been quite difficult to induce such behavior with drug reinforcers.
This experiment tested a novel Pavlovian procedure for inducing approach to a conditioned stimulus (CS) paired with ethanol.
Mice (NZB/B1NJ, DBA/2J) received intraperitoneal injections of ethanol (2 g/kg) immediately before 10-min exposure to a rectangular chamber that contained a distinctive visual cue (star) at one end (Paired group, CS+ trials). On alternate days, saline injection preceded apparatus exposure with no distinctive cues (CS- trials). Unpaired control mice received ethanol in the home cage 60-75 min after each CS+ trial.
NZB/B1NJ Paired group mice spent increasing amounts of time (>85% of the session) in proximity to the star, whereas Unpaired group mice did not. DBA/2J Paired group mice spent slightly more time on the star side than Unpaired group mice but did not show an acquisition curve. Postconditioning tests showed a strong preference for the star side in Paired groups from both strains after saline injection. However, only NZB/B1NJ mice showed a preference after ethanol.
This study provides the first unambiguous demonstration of Pavlovian conditioned approach to an ethanol-paired visual stimulus in the absence of any contingency between the animal's behavior and drug exposure. This effect, which is remarkable both in terms of its magnitude and the rapidity with which it was produced (within 2-3 trials), may be related to the cue-associated craving that accompanies alcohol and drug addiction.

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    • "In the current study, we used a previously established CPP paradigm (Liu et al., 2010; Young et al., 2011b) to investigate the effects of pair bonding experience on the rewarding properties of AMPH. We use the ambiguous term 'rewarding properties' to describe the impact of AMPH on place conditioning because it allows us to simultaneously address the individual components of reward—including hedonics, associative learning, and incentive motivation (Berridge and Robinson, 2003)—that have been implicated in processes underlying place conditioning (Hnasko et al., 2005; White et al., 2005; Cunningham and Patel, 2007), without distinguishing between them. Our results demonstrate that AMPH conditioning induced a CPP in SN, but not PB, male voles, and as such, offer the first empirical evidence that pair bonding experience decreases the rewarding properties of AMPH. "
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    • "Since recent data have demonstrated a negative correlation between test activity levels and magnitude of preference (Gremel & Cunningham, 2007), it could be that increased activity levels during testing disrupted CPP. However, even though AP-5 treated mice were slightly more active during testing (see Table 3), we previously reported that a similar level of test activity expressed in a different set of mice was insufficient to disrupt expression of ethanol CPP (Gremel & Cunningham, 2007). This suggests that the lack of preference expressed following unilateral AP-5 infusions cannot solely be attributed to activity influences on CPP behavior. "
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