Rationale: Rats selectively bred for high saccharin (HiS) intake consume more alcohol, acquire intravenous (i.v.) cocaine self-administration more rapidly, and show more dysregulated patterns of cocaine self-administration than their low saccharin-consuming (LoS) counterparts. Objectives: The purpose of the present study was to determine whether HiS and LoS rats also differ in the escalation, maintenance, extinction, and reinstatement of i.v. cocaine self-administration. Materials and methods: Two experiments were conducted in separate groups of rats. In the first experiment, HiS and LoS female rats were allowed to self-administer cocaine [0.4 mg/kg; fixed ratio (FR) 1] under short (ShA, 2 h per day) or long (LgA, 12 h per day) access conditions for 21 days. Session lengths were subsequently equated (2 h), and FR1-maintained cocaine self-administration was examined. In the second experiment, additional groups of HiS and LoS female rats were given access to cocaine (0.4 mg/kg; FR 1) self-administration during 2-h sessions for 10 days. Subsequently, saline was substituted for cocaine, and responding was extinguished. After a 14-day extinction period, saline- and cocaine-[5, 10, and 15 mg/kg, intraperitoneal (i.p.)] induced reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior was measured. Results: HiS LgA rats escalated their cocaine intake more rapidly than LoS rats, and during the 2 h sessions after escalation cocaine self-administration was significantly higher in HiS LgA rats, compared to LoS LgA rats. HiS rats responded on the cocaine-paired lever more than LoS rats during maintenance, extinction, and cocaine-(15 mg/kg) induced reinstatement. Conclusions: These results suggest that HiS and LoS rats have distinct drug-seeking and drug-taking profiles. The HiS and LoS rats differ along a wide range of behavioral dimensions and represent an important model to study the interactions of excessive intake of dietary substances and vulnerability to drug abuse.
- Selective breeding