Nathan A Holtz

University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN, United States

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Publications (9)26.64 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: A key feature of substance use disorders is continued drug consumption despite aversive consequences. This has been modeled in the animal laboratory by pairing drug self-administration with electric shock, thereby punishing drug intake (Deroche-Gamonet et al. 2004). In the present experiments, we examined the effects of punishment on i.v. cocaine self-administration by adding histamine to the cocaine solution in three different animal models of high and low vulnerability to drug abuse: rats selectively bred for high (HiS) and low (LoS) saccharin consumption, rats selected for high (HiI) and low (LoI) impulsivity, and sex differences. Animals were allowed to self-administer cocaine (0.4mg/kg/infusion) to establish a baseline of operant responding. Histamine (4.0mg/kg/infusion) was then added directly into the cocaine solution and its consequent effects on self-administration were compared to baseline. The histamine+cocaine solution was then replaced with a cocaine-only solution, and the rats' operant responding was again measured and compared to baseline. Concurrent histamine exposure was effective in reducing cocaine consumption in all groups of rats; however, LoS and female rats took longer to return to baseline levels of cocaine consumption after histamine was removed compared to HiS and male rats. These data suggest the reduction of drug self-administration by aversive consequences may differ in groups that vary in drug use vulnerability, and these results may inform pharmacological strategies that enhance the negative aspects of drug consumption.
    Physiology & Behavior 08/2013; · 3.16 Impact Factor
  • Nathan A Holtz, Marilyn E Carroll
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    ABSTRACT: RATIONALE: Adolescence marks a period of increased vulnerability to the development of substance use disorders. High sweet preference is a genetically mediated behavioral trait that also predicts vulnerability to substances of abuse. Previous research has shown that while adolescent rats selectively bred for high (HiS) saccharin intake acquire cocaine self-administration at the same rate as adult HiS rats, adolescent rats bred for low saccharin intake (LoS) acquire cocaine self-administration faster than adult LoS rats. OBJECTIVES: This study was conducted to investigate the interaction of the addiction vulnerability factors of peri-adolescence and saccharin preference on cocaine intake using an animal model of escalation of cocaine consumption over 6-h/day sessions. METHODS: Peri-adolescent and adult HiS and LoS female rats self-administered i.v. cocaine (0.4 mg/kg/inf) during short-access (2-h/day) sessions for 2 days. Next, a long-access (6-h/day) period (LgA) commenced and lasted 16 days. Following LgA, session length was returned to 2-h/day for a second short access phase. RESULTS: LoS peri-adolescent rats escalated cocaine intake over the LgA period and consumed more drug than LoS adult rats; however, peri-adolescent and adult HiS rats consumed similar amounts of cocaine during this period. Additionally, adult HiS rats self-administered more cocaine than adult LoS rats during the LgA period, while there was no phenotypic difference between the rat lines during peri-adolescence for the LgA period. During the first short-access phase, peri-adolescent rats self-administered more cocaine than adult rats. CONCLUSIONS: These results emphasize the importance of adolescent drug abuse prevention by illustrating that phenotypic protection from addiction may not be expressed until adulthood.
    Psychopharmacology 01/2013; · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RATIONALE: Rats bred for high (HiS) and low (LoS) saccharin intake exhibit divergent behavioral responses to multiple drugs of abuse, with HiS rats displaying greater vulnerability to drug taking. Previous research indicates that this effect may be due to increased sensitivity to reward in HiS rats and to the aversive effects of acute drug administration in LoS rats. OBJECTIVE: The current study investigated whether HiS and LoS rats also exhibit different behavioral signs of withdrawal following one or repeated opiate exposures. METHODS: Emotional signs of opiate withdrawal were assessed with potentiation of the acoustic startle reflex and conditioned place aversion (CPA) in male and female HiS and LoS rats. Startle was measured before and 4 h after a 10-mg/kg injection of morphine on days 1, 2, and 7 of opiate exposure. CPA was induced with a 2-day, naloxone-precipitated conditioning paradigm. Somatic signs of withdrawal and weight loss were also measured. RESULTS: Male and female LoS rats exhibited lower startle potentiation than HiS rats on the seventh day of morphine exposure. LoS male rats also failed to develop a CPA to morphine withdrawal. No differences in physical withdrawal signs were observed between HiS and LoS rats, but males of both lines had more physical signs of withdrawal than females. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that LoS rats are less vulnerable to the negative emotional effects of morphine withdrawal than HiS rats. A less severe withdrawal syndrome may contribute to decreased levels of drug taking in the LoS line.
    Psychopharmacology 12/2012; · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rats that have been selectively bred for high (HiS) saccharin intake demonstrate elevated drug-seeking behavior in several phases of addiction compared to those bred for low (LoS) saccharin intake. HiS rats also consume greater amounts of highly palatable substances compared to LoS rats; however, little is known about the neurobiological substrates moderating the divergent behaviors found between the HiS and LoS lines. Orexins are neuropeptides that have been implicated in the conditioned cue aspects of drug abuse and overconsumption of palatable substances, and differential orexin activity in the HiS and LoS phenotypes may enhance our understanding of the close relationship between food and drug reward, and ultimately food and drug addiction. The lateral hypothalamus (LH) and perifornical area (PFA) are brain regions that have been implicated in regulating feeding behavior and addiction processes, and they contain orexinergic neurons that project broadly throughout the brain. Thus, we investigated orexin and c-Fos expression in the LH and PFA using immunohistochemistry in HiS and LoS rats following either control or cocaine (15 mg/kg) injections. Results indicated that HiS rats have higher orexin-positive cell counts compared to LoS rats in both the LH and PFA, regardless of cocaine (vs. saline) treatment. In contrast, neuronal activity indicated by c-Fos expression did not differ in either of these brain areas in HiS vs. LoS rats. These results suggest that the orexin system may be involved in aspects of genetically-mediated differences in vulnerability to compulsive, reward-driven behaviors.
    Neuroscience Letters 06/2012; 522(1):12-5. · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Progesterone decreases cocaine self-administration in women and in female rats. In a previous study using rats selectively bred for high (HiS) or low (LoS) saccharin intake, HiS rats escalated their cocaine intake compared with LoS rats. Our goal was to examine the effects of progesterone on the escalation of cocaine self-administration in HiS and LoS rats. Four groups of female rats were compared: HiS P (progesterone treated), LoS P, HiS VEH (vehicle treated), and LoS VEH. Rats were trained to self-administer 0.8 mg/kg cocaine intravenously under a fixed-ratio 1 schedule during daily short-access (ShA) 2-h sessions. Rats then self-administered three randomly-presented doses of cocaine (0.2, 0.4, and 1.6 mg/kg), and then had daily 6-h long-access (LgA) sessions with 0.4 mg/kg of cocaine for 21 days. Cocaine intake was then reassessed with the four doses under the ShA condition. Throughout the experiment, rats were treated with daily subcutaneous injections of progesterone (0.5 mg/kg) or an equal volume of vehicle 30 min before each session. During the initial ShA condition, HiS rats earned more cocaine infusions than LoS rats at all doses, and during the subsequent LgA condition, HiS rats escalated cocaine intake, whereas the LoS rats maintained a steady rate. Progesterone treatment potentiated escalation of cocaine intake in the HiS rats but had an opposite effect on LoS rats, attenuating their cocaine self-administration. Results from the post-LgA dose-response ShA condition indicated that both LoS and HiS vehicle-treated and progesterone-treated rats earned more infusions than pre-LgA, but mainly at low doses. These results suggest that genetic differences in drug abuse vulnerability contribute differentially to treatment outcomes during escalation, a critical phase of the drug abuse process.
    Behavioural pharmacology 04/2012; 23(2):205-10. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    Nathan A Holtz, Marilyn E Carroll
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    ABSTRACT: Rats selectively bred for high saccharin intake (HiS) self-administer more cocaine, escalate their cocaine intake during long access, and reinstate cocaine seeking at higher levels than those bred for low saccharin intake (LoS). The present study was conducted to determine if baclofen, an agonist at the GABA(b) receptor, has differential effects on the escalation of i.v. cocaine intake and reinstatement of cocaine-seeking in HiS and LoS rats. HiS and LoS rats self-administered cocaine during a 2-h daily short-access (ShA) phase for 3 days and then long-access (LgA) sessions for 21 days followed by a second ShA phase. One group of HiS and LoS rats received i.p. injections of 2.5 mg/kg baclofen (HiS+B and LoS+B, respectively), and other groups of HiS and LoS rats received saline (HiS+Sal and LoS+Sal) before each daily session. In a second experiment, HiS and LoS rats self-administered i.v. cocaine during 2-h sessions for 14 days followed by a 21-day extinction period. Baclofen (2.5 mg/kg, i.p.) or saline was administered before saline- or cocaine-primed reinstatement sessions. The HiS+B group escalated their cocaine self-administration and had increased cocaine infusions in the post-LgA ShA phase. The LoS+B group self-administered less cocaine throughout the entire LgA period compared to the LoS+Sal or HiS groups. Baclofen attenuated reinstatement of cocaine seeking in both the HiS and LoS rats with no phenotype differences. Thus, baclofen had opposite effects on cocaine intake in HiS and LoS rats during escalation; but similar effects during reinstatement. These results suggest that treatment effects might vary with individual differences (HiS vs. LoS) and the phase of drug-motivated behavior that is modeled.
    Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 09/2011; 100(2):275-83. · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sex differences in methamphetamine (METH) use (females>males) have been demonstrated in clinical and preclinical studies. This experiment investigated the effect of sex on the reinstatement of METH-seeking behavior in rats and determined whether pharmacological interventions for METH-seeking vary by sex. Treatment drugs were modafinil (MOD), an analeptic, and allopregnanolone (ALLO), a neuroactive steroid and progesterone metabolite. Male and female rats were trained to self-administer i.v. infusions of METH (0.05 mg/kg/infusion). Next, rats self-administered METH for a 10-day maintenance period. METH was then replaced with saline, and rats extinguished lever-pressing behavior over 18 days. A multi-component reinstatement procedure followed whereby priming injections of METH (1mg/kg) were administered at the start of each daily session, preceded 30 min by MOD (128 mg/kg, i.p.), ALLO (15 mg/kg, s.c.), or vehicle treatment. MOD was also administered at the onset of the session to determine if it would induce the reinstatement of METH-seeking behavior. Female rats had greater METH-induced reinstatement responding compared to male rats following control treatment injections. MOD (compared to the DMSO control) attenuated METH-seeking behavior in male and female rats; however, ALLO only reduced METH-primed responding in females. MOD alone did not induce the reinstatement of METH-seeking behavior. These results support previous findings that females are more susceptible to stimulant abuse compared to males, and ALLO effectively reduced METH-primed reinstatement in females. Further, results illustrate the utility of MOD as a potential agent for prevention of relapse to METH use in both males and females.
    Drug and alcohol dependence 08/2011; 120(1-3):233-7. · 3.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous research indicates that progesterone (PROG) decreased cocaine-seeking behavior in female rats. This effect of PROG may be in part due to its metabolite allopregnanolone (ALLO), which has been shown to decrease the sensitizing effects of cocaine and reduce lethality associated with cocaine overdose in mice. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of ALLO on the reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior in female and male rats. Rats were trained to lever press for i.v. infusions of cocaine (0.4 mg/kg per infusion) during 2-h sessions, and once acquisition criteria were met, cocaine self-administration continued for 14 days. Cocaine was then replaced with saline, and lever pressing was allowed to extinguish over 21 days. After the extinction phase, rats received s.c. ALLO (15 or 30 mg/kg), PROG (0.5 mg/kg), PROG (0.5 mg/kg) plus the 5-alpha reductase inhibitor finasteride (25 mg/kg), or vehicle pretreatment for 3 days. Rats were then tested during reinstatement with three doses of cocaine (5, 10, and 15 mg/kg, i.p. in mixed order). PROG, and to a greater extent ALLO, decreased cocaine-primed reinstatement in females, while finasteride blocked the attenuating effects of PROG on reinstatement. ALLO had no effect on cocaine-primed reinstatement in males. These findings suggest that ALLO may explain part of PROG's inhibitory effect on cocaine-primed reinstatement, and it may serve as a novel approach for preventing relapse in female cocaine abusers.
    Psychopharmacology 12/2008; 203(1):63-72. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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Publication Stats

53 Citations
26.64 Total Impact Points


  • 2008–2013
    • University of Minnesota Twin Cities
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Minneapolis, MN, United States
    • University of Minnesota Duluth
      • Department of Psychology
      Duluth, Minnesota, United States