Long-term cocaine self-administration under fixed–ratio and second-order schedules in monkeys
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Studies in rodents have demonstrated that increased access to cocaine can result in increases in drug intake per unit time.
The present studies characterized long-term changes in cocaine self-administration associated with quantitatively and qualitatively different conditions of cocaine availability in monkeys.
Materials and methods
Separate groups of rhesus monkeys (n = 6/group) self-administered cocaine (0.2 mg/kg per injection) under a fixed ratio (FR) 30 schedule for 3 h twice daily for two consecutive days each week for 1 year, or responded under a second-order FR 10 (fixed interval 3-min:S) schedule of 0.2 mg/kg per injection cocaine during daily sessions. After 18 weeks, probe sessions were conducted once per week, in which responding was maintained under a fixed interval (FI) 30-min schedule in the presence of distinct stimuli.
Weekly cocaine intakes under the FR schedule were stable in three subjects, but increased progressively in three monkeys over 1 year. In contrast, response rates under the second-order schedule were low and stable over time. Responding under the FI 30-min schedule was higher for monkeys in the FR group and pattern of responding was not indicative of FI performance, perhaps due to experimental history.
These data suggest that increases in cocaine intake can be observed under ratio schedules in monkeys. The use of an FI 30-min “probe” to assess changes in “drug seeking” appeared to be influenced by experimental history. These data may aid in the development of behavioral models of cocaine abuse, which focus on the compulsive nature of drug taking.
KeywordsCocaine Fixed ratio schedule Fixed interval schedule Second-order schedule Rhesus monkeys
This research was supported by NIDA grants DA 14637 (MAN) and DA 016279 (BAR).
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