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Abolition of the expression but not the acquisition of latent inhibition by chronic amphetamine in rats


The animal amphetamine model of schizophrenia has been based primarily on stereotyped behavior. The present study sought to demonstrate an amphetamine-induced deficit in attentional processes. To this end, the effects of acute and chronic (14 days) 1.5 mg/kg dl-amphetamine administration on the ability of rats to ignore irrelevant stimuli were examined using the paradigm of latent inhibition (LI) in a conditioned emotional response (CER) procedure. The procedure consisted of three stages: pre-exposure, in which the to-be-conditoned stimulus, tone, was presented without being followed by reinforcement; acquisition, in which the pre-exposed tone was paired with shock; and test, in which LI was indexed by animals' suppression of licking during tone presentation. Experiment 1 showed that chronic but not acute treatment abolished LI. Experiment 2 showed that animals receiving chronic amphetamine pretreatment but pre-exposed and conditioned without the drug, exhibited normal LI. In Experiment 3, animals which received chronic amphetamine pretreatment and were pre-exposed under the drug but conditioned without it, also showed normal LI. The implications of these results for the animal amphetamine model of schizophrenia are discussed.

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Correspondence to I. Weiner.

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Weiner, I., Lubow, R.E. & Feldon, J. Abolition of the expression but not the acquisition of latent inhibition by chronic amphetamine in rats. Psychopharmacology 83, 194–199 (1984).

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Key words

  • Chronic amphetamine
  • Latent inhibition
  • Conditioned suppression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Rat