RATIONALE: Clinical and preclinical evidence indicates that the setting of drug use affects drug reward in a substance-specific manner. Heroin and cocaine co-abusers, for example, indicated distinct settings for the two drugs: heroin being used preferentially at home and cocaine preferentially outside the home. Similar results were obtained in rats that were given the opportunity to self-administer intravenously both heroin and cocaine.
OBJECTIVES: The goal of the present study was to investigate the possibility that the positive affective state induced by cocaine is enhanced when the drug is taken at home relative to a non-home environment, and vice versa for heroin.
METHODS: To test this hypothesis, we trained male rats to self-administer both heroin and cocaine on alternate days and simultaneously recorded the emission of ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs), as it has been reported that rats emit 50-kHz USVs when exposed to rewarding stimuli, suggesting that these USVs reflect positive affective states.
RESULTS: We found that Non-Resident rats emitted more 50-kHz USVs when they self-administered cocaine than when self-administered heroin whereas Resident rats emitted more 50-kHz USVs when self-administering heroin than when self-administering cocaine. Differences in USVs in Non-Resident rats were more pronounced during the first self-administration (SA) session, when the SA chambers were completely novel to them. In contrast, the differences in USVs in Resident rats were more pronounced during the last SA sessions.
CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that the setting of drug taking exerts a substance-specific influence on the ability of drugs to induce positive affective states.
- Analgesics, Opioid/administration & dosage
- Cocaine/administration & dosage
- Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors/administration & dosage
- Heroin/administration & dosage
- Rats, Sprague-Dawley
- Self Administration
- Substance-Related Disorders/psychology
- Ultrasonic Waves
- Vocalization, Animal/drug effects