Alterations in the Reinforcing Efficacy of Cocaine in Adult Rats Following Prenatal Exposure to Cocaine

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Adult male rats gestationally exposed to cocaine and nonexposed control offspring were examined for differences in operant responding for cocaine and sucrose reinforcement. Offspring were derived from dams that had received subcutaneous injections of 40 mg/kg/3cc cocaine hydrochloride daily on gestational Days 8-20 and nontreated control dams. Although no prenatal treatment differences were seen when the animals lever pressed for sucrose pellets on a progressive-ratio (PR) schedule, adult offspring prenatally exposed to cocaine were observed to exhibit an enhanced rate of cocaine intravenous self-administration on a fixed-ratio 5 (FR-5) schedule along with a marked decrease in break point on the PR reinforcement schedule. These results suggest that the reinforcing efficacy of cocaine may be reduced in animals with a prenatal history of cocaine exposure.

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