Volitional social interaction prevents drug addiction in rat models

Marco Venniro, Michelle Zhang, Daniele Caprioli, Jennifer K. Hoots, Sam A. Golden, Conor Heins, Marisela Morales, David H. Epstein, Yavin Shaham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Addiction treatment has not been appreciably improved by neuroscientific research. One problem is that mechanistic studies using rodent models do not incorporate volitional social factors, which play a critical role in human addiction. Here, using rats, we introduce an operant model of choice between drugs and social interaction. Independent of sex, drug class, drug dose, training conditions, abstinence duration, social housing, or addiction score in Diagnostic & Statistical Manual IV-based and intermittent access models, operant social reward prevented drug self-administration. This protection was lessened by delay or punishment of the social reward but neither measure was correlated with the addiction score. Social-choice-induced abstinence also prevented incubation of methamphetamine craving. This protective effect was associated with activation of central amygdala PKCδ-expressing inhibitory neurons and inhibition of anterior insular cortex activity. These findings highlight the need for incorporating social factors into neuroscience-based addiction research and support the wider implantation of socially based addiction treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1520-1529
Number of pages10
JournalNature Neuroscience
Volume21
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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