The non-selective opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone reduces cocaine-induced reinstatement of drug-seeking behaviour in abstinent rats. The current study sought to determine whether the opioid system is also involved in cocaine-seeking behaviour induced by cocaine-associated stimuli in abstinent rats. Adult male rats were trained to press a lever either to self-administer cocaine or to obtain sucrose pellets in the presence of distinctive discriminative and conditioned stimuli. After a period of extinction, re-exposure to cocaine-associated cues selectively elicited robust and enduring responding at the active lever; sucrose pellet-associated cues revived seeking behaviour less pronouncedly. Pretreatment with naltrexone (0.25, 1, 2.5 mg/kg s.c., 20 min before reinstatement tests) dose dependently prevented cue-induced cocaine-seeking behaviour, whereas (2.5 mg/kg s.c.) did not affect the degree of cue-induced sucrose-seeking behaviour. These results provide the first evidence that naltrexone influences cocaine seeking induced by conditioned stimuli in abstinent rats; this effect appears selective for cocaine reinstatement as opposed to a non-drug reinforcer.
- Drug cues
- Seeking behaviour
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)