Lack of effect of ethanol on cocaine prime-induced reinstatement of extinguished cocaine self-administration in rhesus monkeys

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Cocaine and alcohol are commonly co-abused for reasons that are incompletely understood. Laboratory animal studies have suggested that, although the reinforcing effects of low cocaine doses are increased following chronic ethanol (EtOH) consumption, acute EtOH administration does not consistently alter cocaine self-administration. The present study examined whether EtOH influences another abuse-related effect of cocaine: reinstatement of extinguished responding. Rhesus monkeys that had previously consumed EtOH for 8 weeks (2.0 g/kg over 1 h, 5 days/week) self-administered up to 10 injections per day of 0.1 mg/kg cocaine under a fixed-interval 300-s schedule. After responding had been extinguished by substituting saline for cocaine, a pre-session infusion of saline or EtOH (0.5 or 1.0 g/kg, intravenously over 10 min) was followed by a ‘priming’ injection of saline or cocaine (intravenously). Responding was increased significantly by priming injections of cocaine, but not saline. EtOH infusions neither reinstated behavior when administered before a saline prime nor altered the priming effect of cocaine. The inability of EtOH to alter the response-reinstating ability of cocaine provides further evidence for a lack of acute behavioral interactions between cocaine and EtOH.

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