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The progressive ratio schedule as a model for studying the psychomotor stimulant activity of drugs in the rat


Male Wistar rats were trained to press a lever with food reinforcement according to a continuously reinforced schedule (CRF). Afterwards, rats were subjected to three experimental sessions (30 min each) during which responding was rewarded according to a progressive ratio schedule (following an initial 2-min CRF period, the number of presses necessary for the pellet delivery was doubled every second minute). Responding during the first half of each session, i.e., pressing for food, was maintained at a significant level, whereas it was almost suppressed during the second part of the session. As compared to controls (200±20 presses/30 min) animals given amfonelic acid (0.5, 1 mg/kg IP), methylphenidate (4, 8 mg/kg IP), caffeine (16 mg/kg IP), cocaine (4 mg/kg IP), oxolinic acid (32 mg/kg IP), nomifensine (4 mg/kg IP), DR 250 (2, 4 mg/kg IP) and d-amphetamine (0.25, 0.5, 1 mg/kg IP) showed an increased rate of responding ranging from 400 to 950 presses/30 min. In contrast, apomorphine, MK 486+l-dopa, trihexyphenidyl, imipramine, salbutamol and diazepam did not increase responding. These results suggested that this test is highly sensitive for psychomotor stimulants and perhaps for their ability to enhance the reinforcing value of the reward or stimuli associated with the reward. Such activity seemed related to a catecholaminergic substrate since the increase of responding induced by amphetamine was blocked by pimozide, d,l-propranolol and prazosin.

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Correspondence to M. Poncelet.

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Poncelet, M., Chermat, R., Soubrie, P. et al. The progressive ratio schedule as a model for studying the psychomotor stimulant activity of drugs in the rat. Psychopharmacology 80, 184–189 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00427967

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Key words

  • Progressive ratio schedule
  • Psychomotor stimulants
  • Amphetamine
  • Apomorphine
  • Diazepam
  • Imipramine
  • Catecholamines
  • Rats