The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether attenuation of ethanol consumption by naltrexone is the result of selective changes in the reinforcing effectiveness of drug and non-drug reinforcers. A range of naltrexone doses (0.1-1.0 mg/kg) was administered for 5 days, and the effects on the reinforcing effects of orally delivered 8% (w/v) ethanol, 0.25 mg/ml phencyclidine (PCP), 0.03% (w/v) saccharin and food were studied in eight rhesus monkeys. Food and liquids were available under independent and concurrent progressive-ratio (PR) schedules (ratio range 8-4096) during daily 3h sessions. Ethanol-maintained responding was attenuated by 0.3 and 1.0 mg/kg doses of naltrexone, while saccharin-maintained responding was decreased at the 1.0 mg/kg dose. Furthermore, there was a significant linear trend that consumption of available ethanol and saccharin was attenuated dose-dependently by naltrexone. Following 5 days of naltrexone pretreatment, ethanol- and saccharin-maintained responding immediately returned to or exceeded baseline levels. Food- and PCP-maintained responding and intake were not significantly affected by any of the naltrexone doses examined. The decreased break point (BP) values for ethanol and saccharin suggest that their reinforcing effects are mediated through opioid reinforcement mechanisms. The lack of naltrexone attenuation of PCP- and food-maintained responding suggests that these reinforcers: 1) are not sensitive to naltrexone antagonism at the doses examined. 2) are mediated by non-opioid reinforcement mechanisms, and/or 3) have less intrinsic palatability.
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Acknowledgements We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Sherry Thompson, Chris Consilvio and Rochus Voeller for help in collecting the data. This study was supported by NIDA Grant R01 DA02486 awarded to M. E. C.
- Progressive ratio
- Self- administration