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Nicotine and cocaine self-administration using a multiple schedule of intravenous drug and sucrose reinforcement in rats

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Abstract

There appears to be a relatively narrow range of contingencies in which intravenous (i.v) infusions of nicotine will maintain responding in rats. The schedule of reinforcement typically used when investigating i.v. nicotine self-administration is a simple fixed-ratio (FR) schedule. This study determined if responding in rats could be established using a multiple schedule of either i.v. cocaine or nicotine and sucrose reinforcement. Following training of individual components with each reinforcer, rats were placed on an FR15 60-s timeout multiple schedule of cocaine (0.3 mg/kg/infusion) and sucrose (45 mg pellets) reinforcement or an FR5 60-s timeout multiple schedule of nicotine (0.03 mg/kg/infusion) and sucrose (45 mg pellets) reinforcement. Both cocaine and nicotine maintained significant levels of responding under the multiple schedule. Pretreatment with the dopamine D1 antagonist SCH 23390 increased cocaine-maintained responding, but not sucrose responding. Acute pretreatment with the nicotinic antagonist mecamylamine or SCH 23390 specifically decreased nicotine self-administration. Extinction of the individual nicotine and sucrose components resulted in decreases in responding in each component under extinction. These results indicate that i.v. nicotine maintains responding under a multiple schedule. This procedure may be useful when studying the specificity of drug pretreatments on nicotine self-administration.

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