Effects of Stress on the Reinstatement of Cocaine-Seeking Behavior Between Rats Selectively Bred for High and Low Saccharin Intake
Holtzman, Alexander L.
Cocaine is one of the most addictive, most dangerous, and most widely abused illegal drugs in the world (Hecht, 2011 ). Because cocaine is so addictive and dangerous, cocaine abuse and cocaine addiction pose a threat to the health, safety, and well being of society as a whole, as well as the individuals using cocaine. In order to improve treatment strategies for cocaine dependance, it is crucial to gain understanding into what causes cocaine abuse, and what traits make individuals more susceptible to cocaine abuse. Stress has been shown as a predicting factor in relapsing into cocaine-seeking behavior after abstinence, and genetic factors in substance abuse have been examined in human and animal models alike (Perry & Carroll, 2008). In order to model the heritability of drug abuse and drug intake, selectively bred rats for high and low saccharin consumption were used as the subjects in this proposed experiment, with stress level as an aditional independent variable. This proposed experiment utilized a four group design, examining differences in cocaine reinstatement after a period of cocaine extinction in rats between a high saccharin stress group (HiSS), a high saccharin no stress group (HiSN), a low saccharin stress group (LoSS), and a low saccharin no stress group (LoSN). Cocaine reinstatement between these four groups was examined in order to determine if there is a relation in genetic predisposition for saccharin intake and stress inf reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior in rats. Results would indicate whether or not there is a difference in the relationship between stress and cocaine reinstatement between rats bred for high and low saccharin intake. From this information it would be possible to design more effective personalized treatment strategies for individuals based upon their stress levels and their genetic predisposition for drug abuse.
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