ABSTRACT: Behavioral sensitization in rodents is hypothesized to reflect neuronal adaptations that are related to drug addiction in humans. We evaluated the effects of group exposure on the acute hyperlocomotion and behavioral sensitization induced by four drugs of abuse in C57BL/6 mice: methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), d-amphetamine, morphine and ethanol.
In the priming session, animals received an ip injection of one of the drugs of abuse and were exposed to an open field either individually or in groups of four. Seven days later, we assessed behavioral sensitization in the challenge session. All animals received an ip injection of the same drug and were exposed to the open field in the same social conditions described for the priming session. Locomotion and social interaction were quantified during each session.
Acute MDMA, morphine and ethanol, but not d-amphetamine, increased social interaction. However, group exposure only potentiated MDMA-induced hyperlocomotion. After a challenge injection of each drug, there was no sensitization to the facilitating effect of MDMA, morphine or ethanol on social interaction, but locomotion sensitization developed to all drugs of abuse except ethanol. This sensitization was potentiated by group exposure in MDMA-treated animals, attenuated in morphine-treated animals and not modified in d-amphetamine-treated animals. Acute MDMA enhanced body contact and peaceful following, while acute morphine and ethanol increased social sniffing.
These results provide preclinical evidence showing that while different drugs of abuse affect different components of social interaction, the neuronal adaptations related to drug dependence can be critically and specifically influenced by group exposure.
Drug and alcohol dependence 05/2011; 118(2-3):349-59. · 3.60 Impact Factor