ABSTRACT: Affective disorders and substance abuse frequently coexist, yet few previous studies have examined drug self-administration using animal models of depression. The olfactory-bulbectomized rat is a well-established model that exhibits a high degree of neurochemical similarity to depression. Olfactory bulbectomy (OBX) increases dopamine receptor densities in the ventral striatum, which may increase the reinforcing effects of drugs of abuse. Experiments were designed to test the hypotheses that acquisition and stable self-administration of amphetamine would be increased in bulbectomized rats. In the first experiment, rats underwent bilateral OBX or sham surgery and intravenous jugular catheters were implanted 12-14 days later. Acquisition was examined using a standard operant paradigm involving a nose-poke response for a very low dose of D-amphetamine sulfate (12 microg/infusion, IV). A separate group of rats received coinfusions of sulpiride. In a second experiment designed to minimize differences in acquisition and examine stable self-administration, lever pressing for a low (0.10 mg/kg, IV) or high (0.25 mg/kg, IV) dose of D-amphetamine sulfate was measured in rats pretrained to lever press for food. Bulbectomized rats acquired the self-administration of very low dose amphetamine faster than sham-operated rats and this effect was reversed by sulpiride coinfusion. Stable self-administration of the low dose of amphetamine was also markedly increased in bulbectomized rats. The findings reveal the utility of the OBX model for studying the neurobiological basis of depression and drug abuse comorbidity and support the hypothesis that neurochemical abnormalities associated with depression may enhance the addictive properties of some drugs of abuse.
Synapse 11/2002; 46(1):4-10. · 2.94 Impact Factor