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Food-induced behavioral sensitization, its cross-sensitization to cocaine and morphine, pharmacological blockade, and effect on food intake

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posted on 2023-06-07, 18:30 authored by Julie Le Merrer, David N Stephens
Repeated administration of abused drugs sensitizes their stimulant effects and results in a drug-paired environment eliciting conditioned activity. We tested whether food induces similar effects. Food-deprived male mice were given novel food during 30 min tests in a runway (FR group) that measured locomotor activity. Whereas the activity of this group increased with repeated testing, that of a group exposed to the runways but that received the food in the home cage (FH group), or of a group satiated by prefeeding before testing (SAT group), decreased. When exposed to the runways in the absence of food, the paired group was more active than the other groups (conditioned activity); no activity differences were seen in an alternative, non-food-paired, apparatus. Conditioned activity survived a 3-week period without runway exposure. Conditioned activity was selectively reduced by the opiate antagonist naltrexone (10-20 mg/kg) and by the noncompetitive AMPA receptor antagonist GYKI 52466 [1-(4-aminophenyl)-4-methyl-7,8-methylenedioxy-5H-2,3-benzodiazepine hydrochloride] (5-10 mg/kg). The D1 antagonist SCH23390 [R(+)-7-chloro-8-hydroxy-3-methyl-1-phenyl-2,3,4,5-tetrahydro-1H-3-benzazepine hydrochloride] (15-30 microg/kg) and D2 antagonist sulpiride (25-125 mg/kg) reduced activity nonspecifically. A single intraperitoneal dose of cocaine (10 mg/kg) or morphine (20 mg/kg) increased activity compared with saline, the stimulant effect being larger in the FR group, suggesting "cross-sensitization" to these drugs. However, pretreatment with GYKI 52466 or naltrexone at doses that suppressed conditioned activity in FR animals suppressed cross-sensitization to cocaine. When allowed ad libitum access to food in the runway, FR mice consumed more pellets in a time-limited test. Thus, many of the features of behavioral sensitization to drugs can be demonstrated using food reward and may contribute to excessive eating.


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