A medium throughput rodent model of relapse from addiction with behavioral and pharmacological specificity

William J.A. Eiler, Scott D. Gleason, Jodi L. Smith, Jeffrey M. Witkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


One of most formidable problems in the treatment of addiction is the high rate of relapse. The discovery of medicines to help mitigate relapse are aided by animal models that currently involve weeks of training and require surgical preparations and drug delivery devices. The present set of experiments was initiated to investigate a rapid 8-day screening method that utilizes food instead of intravenous drug administration. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained in a reinstatement paradigm in which every lever press produced a 45 mg food pellet concurrently paired with a light and tone. Behavior was subsequently extinguished with lever responses producing neither food nor food-associated stimuli. Reinstatement of responding was evaluated under conditions in which the first three responses of every 5 min time bin produced a food pellet along with food-associated stimuli. The mGlu5 receptor antagonists MPEP and MTEP produced a significant reduction in reinstatement while failing to alter responding where every response produced food. The cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant and the mGlu2/3 receptor agonist LY379268 also selectively reduced reinstatement. Other compounds including clozapine, d-amphetamine, chlordiazepoxide, ABT-431, naltrexone and citalopram were without effect. The results suggest that relapse-like behavioral effects can be extended to non-pharmacological reinforcers. Drug effects demonstrated both behavioral and pharmacological specificity. The present experimental design thus allows for efficient and rapid assessment of the effects of drugs that might be useful in the treatment of addiction-associated relapse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-79
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
StatePublished - Aug 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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