18-Methoxycoronaridine blocks context-induced reinstatement following cocaine self-administration in rats

Abstract

Numerous studies utilizing drug self-administration have shown the importance of conditioned cues in maintaining and reinstating addictive behaviors. However, most used simple cues that fail to replicate the complexity of cues present in human craving and addiction. We have recently shown that music can induce behavioral and neurochemical changes in rats following classical conditioning with psychostimulants. However, such effects have yet to be characterized utilizing operant self-administration procedures, particularly with regard to craving and relapse. The goal of the present study was to validate the effectiveness of music as a contextual conditioned stimulus using cocaine in an operant reinstatement model of relapse. Rats were trained to lever press for cocaine with a musical cue, and were subsequently tested during reinstatement sessions to determine how musical conditioning affected drug seeking behavior. Additionally, in vivo microdialysis was used to determine basolateral amygdala involvement during reinstatement. Lastly, tests were conducted to determine whether the putative anti-addictive agent 18-methoxycoronaridine (18-MC) could attenuate cue-induced drug seeking behavior. Our results show that music-conditioned animals exhibited increased drug seeking behaviors when compared to controls during reinstatement test sessions. Furthermore, music-conditioned subjects exhibited increased extracellular dopamine in the basolateral amygdala during reinstatement sessions. Perhaps most importantly, 18-MC blocked musical cue-induced reinstatement. Thus, music can be a powerful contextual conditioned cue in rats, capable of inducing changes in both brain neurochemistry and drug seeking behavior during abstinence. The fact that 18-MC blocked cue-induced reinstatement suggests that α3β4 nicotinic receptors may be involved in the mechanism of craving, and that 18-MC may help prevent relapse to drug addiction in humans.

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