Drug self-administration

drug-self-administrationEvaluation of drug reinforcement and relapse

The self-administration paradigm is the most sophisticated test available to investigate the different phases of the addiction process. To allow active control over intake of drugs of abuse, animals are implanted with an intravenous catheter. During daily sessions in an operant cage, the catheter is connected to a syringe containing the drug, after which operant responding (i.e. lever pressing or nose poking) is reinforced by an infusion of a small dose of drugs, or, in the case of alcohol, the provision of a small amount of alcohol in a receptacle. After a drug-free period, relapse can be induced by the exposure to the drug, stress, or drug-associated cues.

Drug self-administration can be used to evaluate a range of addictive behaviours, including initiation of drug taking, the motivation to self-administer drugs, and the vulnerability to relapse to drug seeking.

Sylics’ researchers and technicians have contributed their expertise with drug self-administration procedures to numerous studies employing this task1-3.

1Extracellular matrix plasticity and GABAergic inhibition of prefrontal cortex pyramidal cells facilitates relapse to heroin seeking. Van den Oever, Lubbers et al., Neuropsychopharmacology. 2010; 35:2120
2Enhanced alcohol self-administration and reinstatement in a highly impulsive, inattentive recombinant inbred mouse strain. Loos et al., Front Behav Neurosci. 2013; 7:151
3Prefrontal gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptor insertion controls cue-induced relapse to nicotine seeking. Lubbers et al., Biol Psychiatry. 2014; 76:750