Developmental lead exposure attenuates methamphetamine dose-effect self-administration performance and progressive ratio responding in the male rat

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Perinatal (gestation/lactation) lead exposure modifies the reinforcement efficacy of various psychoactive drugs (e.g., cocaine, opiates) across the phases of initial selection, use, and abuse [Nation J.R., Cardon A.L., Heard H.M., Valles R., Bratton G.R. Perinatal lead exposure and relapse to drug-seeking behavior in the rat: a cocaine reinstatement study. Psychopharmacol 2003;168: 236–243.; Nation J.R., Smith K.R., Bratton G.R. Early developmental lead exposure increases sensitivity to cocaine in a self-administration paradigm. Pharmacol Biochem Behave 2004; 77: 127–13; Rocha A., Valles R., Cardon A.L., Bratton G.R., Nation J.R. Enhanced acquisition of cocaine self-administration in rats developmentally exposed to lead. Neuropsychopharmacol 2005; 30: 2058–2064.]. However, changes in sensitivity to methamphetamine across the phases of drug abuse have not been examined in animals perinatally exposed to lead. Because the mainstream popularity of methamphetamine in the United States is increasing and lead exposure continues to be widespread, an examination of this drug and how it may be modified by perinatal exposure to lead is warranted. The studies reported here examined the effects of perinatal lead exposure on adult self-administration of intravenous (i.v.) methamphetamine across the maintenance phase of drug addiction. Experiment 1 examined dose-effect patterns in control and lead-exposed animals. Experiment 2 evaluated control and lead-exposed animals in a progressive ratio task. Female rats were administered a 16-mg lead or a control solution for 30 days prior to breeding with non-exposed males. Exposure continued through pregnancy and lactation and was discontinued at weaning (postnatal day [PND] 21). Animals born to control or lead-exposed dams received indwelling jugular catheters as adults (PND 70) and subsequently were randomly assigned to one of the two studies, using only one male rat per litter for each study. The data showed a general attenuation of the reinforcement efficacy of methamphetamine in animals perinatally exposed to lead, as compared to control animals.

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