, Volume 232, Issue 24, pp 4401–4410 | Cite as

Effects of fendiline on cocaine-seeking behavior in the rat

  • Jonathan J. Cunningham
  • Erin Orr
  • Barbara C. Lothian
  • Jennifer Morgen
  • Karen BrebnerEmail author
Original Investigation



L-type Ca2+ channels (LTCC) and GABAB receptors are both possible targets in the development of new pharmacological compounds for cocaine addiction. Drugs that target either receptor attenuate a wide range of cocaine-seeking behaviors in the rat. However, there is no current human-approved pharmacotherapeutic intervention for psychostimulant addiction.


This study examined the effects of a human-approved LTCC blocker, fendiline, on cocaine-taking and cocaine-seeking behavior in rats. The effects of combining fendiline with the GABAB receptor agonist baclofen on cocaine self-administration were also tested.


Male Wistar rats were trained to self-administer cocaine, and the effects of fendiline pretreatment (vehicle, 1.78, 3.16, 5.62 mg/kg, intraperitoneal (IP)) were tested on progressive ratio responding and cue- and drug-induced reinstatement. The effects of baclofen (vehicle, 0.56, 1.78, 3.16, 5.62 mg/kg, IP) combined with fendiline (5.62 mg/kg, IP) were tested on progressive ratio responding. Control experiments measured locomotor activity and lever pressing for food in rats that received both baclofen and fendiline prior to the test session.


Acute injections of fendiline prior to cue- or drug-induced reinstatement significantly attenuated lever-pressing behavior (p < 0.05). Fendiline and baclofen, but not fendiline alone, not only significantly attenuated breakpoints, but also impaired general motor behavior and naturalistic reinforcement (p < 0.05).


These data suggest that the LTCC blocker fendiline may represent a novel pharmacotherapeutic intervention to prevent reinstatement to cocaine seeking. Also, co-administration of fendiline and baclofen not only can attenuate the motivation to take cocaine, but also impairs general motor behavior and naturalistic reinforcement.


Addiction Cocaine Self-administration Reinstatement L-type calcium channel antagonist GABAB receptor Fendiline 



The authors would like to thank Anthony Phillips for his comments and suggestions in the preparation of this article. This research was supported by CFI/NSRIT #17561, NSHRF MED-Project-2008-4695, and St FX UCR #91642.

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest to report.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan J. Cunningham
    • 1
  • Erin Orr
    • 2
  • Barbara C. Lothian
    • 2
  • Jennifer Morgen
    • 2
  • Karen Brebner
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologySt. Francis Xavier UniversityAntigonishCanada

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