The effects of cocaine on the rate independent brain stimulation reward threshold in the mouse.

Laboratory of Behavioral Pharmacology, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, L-620, Boston, MA 02118, USA.
Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.82). 10/2004; 79(1):165-70. DOI: 10.1016/j.pbb.2004.07.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Interest in the development of mouse models of drug abuse liability has increased with the introduction of selective gene expression. In the rat, the ability of drugs to lower brain stimulation reward (BSR) thresholds often correlates with high abuse liability. Measurement of BSR thresholds using rate-independent methods decreases the influence of impaired motor performance on threshold determination that may confound studies of mutant mice. In the present experiment, the effects of cocaine on mouse BSR thresholds were assessed using a modification of the rate-independent psychophysical method of limits as current intensity was systematically varied in a series of descending and ascending discrete trials. Bipolar electrodes were implanted into the medial forebrain bundle of male C57Bl/6N mice and the effects of intraperitoneal saline and cocaine (5.0-30.0 mg/kg) on BSR thresholds were assessed using a within-subject crossover design. Threshold was defined as the intensity at which the mouse would respond in 50% of the trials. Threshold levels were significantly lowered below levels of control following cocaine administration with the maximum lowering following a 20.0-mg/kg dose. These findings indicate that cocaine increases the sensitivity of the mouse to BSR, and that BSR thresholds can be determined using rate-independent methods in this species.

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