, Volume 114, Issue 1, pp 63-70

Non-contingent electric footshock facilitates the acquisition of intravenous cocaine self-administration in rats

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Abstract

The experiments described below were designed to investigate whether contingent versus non-contingent electric footshock would affect the acquisition of intravenous cocaine self-administration in rats. During the first component of a multiple schedule, triads of rats were trained to respond under a discrete-trial, fixed-ratio 10 schedule of food reinforcement. Random footshock presentation (0.6 mA) for the first and second rats from each triad was yoked to food lever responding by the rats in the first group only, while the third group of rats was never shocked. When stable baselines of food-reinforced responding were obtained, all three rats from each triad were allowed to self-administer increasing doses of cocaine (0.031–0.5 mg/kg per infusion) during the second component. Rats from the second group, receiving noncontingent footshock presentation, self-administered cocaine (0.125 mg/kg per infusion) at higher rates and at one-half the dose which maintained responding in rats from the other two treatment groups. Plasma corticosterone, measured before the acquisition of cocaine self-administration, was highly correlated with drug intake at this concentration for all three groups of rats. These data demonstrate that non-contingent experimental stress facilitates the acquisition of intravenous cocaine self-administration in rats.