Exposure to sucrose during periods of withdrawal does not reduce cocaine-seeking behavior in rats

Abstract : Concomitant access to drugs of abuse and alternative rewards such as sucrose has been shown to decrease addiction-related behaviors in animals. Here we investigated whether access to sucrose during abstinence in contexts that are temporally and physically distinct from drug-related contexts could reduce subsequent drug seeking. In addition, we investigated whether a history of cocaine self-administration would alter the rewarding effects of sucrose. Rats self-administered cocaine for ten sessions, while yoked-saline rats received only saline injections, and then we subjected them to a 30-day withdrawal period during which they had access to water and sucrose continuously or intermittently according to a schedule that induces binge-drinking behavior. At the end of the withdrawal period, rats were tested for cocaine seeking behavior during a single 6 h session. We found that exposure to cocaine increased sucrose consumption only when rats had intermittent access to sucrose, but exposure to sucrose did not alter drug seeking regardless of the schedule of access. These results suggest that exposure to cocaine cross-sensitizes to the rewarding effects of sucrose, but exposure to sucrose during abstinence, temporally and physically distinct from drug-related environments, does not to reduce drug seeking.
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Céline Nicolas, Claire Lafay-Chebassier, Marcello Solinas. Exposure to sucrose during periods of withdrawal does not reduce cocaine-seeking behavior in rats. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2016, 6 (1), pp.23272. ⟨10.1038/srep23272⟩. ⟨inserm-02350875⟩

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