TL neuro

July 29, 2015

Modeling the preference for peers that you get high with

Filed under: Animal Models, Behavior, Cocaine, Neuroscience — mtaffe @ 1:02 pm

A new paper from Mark Smith and colleagues addresses whether drug exposure can differentially condition a preference for certain peers in a rat model.

Smith MA, Strickland JC, Bills SE, Lacy RT. The effects of a shared history of drug exposure on social choice. Behav Pharmacol. 2015 Apr 28. [Epub ahead of print]

The study focused on “choice” rat groups, one of which (N=16) was to receive cocaine injections and one of which (N=16) was to receive saline injections. The choice rats were then destined to have social interactions with a social peer rat that had received cocaine or a social rat that had received saline.

Smith15-RatPrefThe social choice apparatus is depicted in this figure from the paper. The choice rat is permitted to roam about the apparatus and choose proximity to one of two partner rats. A pre-conditioning test established the amount of time a given choice rat spent in proximity to each of the saline- or cocaine-treated partner rats.

The choice rats then underwent a total of 10 conditioning sessions in normal home cages. For these sessions, the choice rats would receive their cocaine or saline injections and then interact with a single partner rat for 30 min. On five of those sessions the partner rat was as cocaine treated animal and on the other five the partner was saline treated.

The critical post-conditioning preference test was then conducted.

A change in preference was expressed as the amount of time spent on the side of the apparatus containing each partner rat divided by the time spent with that partner during the pre-conditioning test. Two analyses were conducted, one just scoring time in each half of the apparatus and a second analysis scoring time spent in ~the front half of each side, i.e., in closer proximity to the partner. This made no difference in the results, including the fact that there was no change in the amount of time spent in this “neutral” or non-social zone after conditioning.

The takeaway message was that there was a significant increase in the amount of time spent with the similarly-treated partner when all choice rats were considered. However when the group analysis was conducted, only the cocaine-treated choice rats exhibited increased preference for the cocaine-treated partner. Saline-treated choice rats had no partner preference.

The takeaway message is that cocaine-treated rats prefer to hang out with other cocaine-treated rats. It wasn’t a general social-conditioning effect, since there was no differential effect on time spent in the non-social part of the apparatus.

There is one major caveat. The size of the effect was about an 8% increase in the time cocaine-treated choice rats spent with the cocaine-treated partner during the choice test. This amounted to about 49 seconds.

This is a limited initial finding but it obviously has promise for investigating social factors that enhance or diminish drug preferences, drug reward and the power of drug-related cues to shape behavior.

December 20, 2012

Anti-drug vaccine explainer animation from NIDA

Filed under: Cocaine, Opiates, Vaccines — mtaffe @ 8:58 am

There’s also a writeup of the Koob/Janda/Crystal collaboration to generate an anti-cocaine vaccine with adenovirus carrier protein and the Koob/Janda work on heroin vaccine.

Wee, S., et al. Novel cocaine vaccine linked to a disrupted adenovirus gene transfer vector blocks cocaine psychostimulant and reinforcing effects. Neuropsychopharmacology [Epub ahead of print September 14, 2011]. PubMed

Stowe, G.N. et al., A vaccine strategy that induces protective immunity against heroin. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 54(14), 5195–204, 2011. PubMed

December 14, 2010

Drug Use Epidemiology from Monitoring the Future

Filed under: Alcohol, Cannabis, Cocaine, MDMA — mtaffe @ 8:36 am

New Press Releases are out from the Monitoring the Future study today.

Press Release on alcohol, ecstasy and marijuana in teen populations.

A couple of single page PDFs overview:
Marijuana (Daily use)

November 19, 2010

Cosgrove et al, 2002: Wheel running suppresses cocaine taking

Filed under: Cocaine, Exercise — mtaffe @ 10:44 am

In 2008 at the Annual Meeting of CPDD, I heard Nora Volkow, Director of NIDA, describe a new interest of NIDA in the role that regular exercise plays in preventing or ameliorating drug use. Some of the rationale was epidemiological, you may think of this as “adolescents who are in sports are less likely to do drugs”. It was backed by a little bit of evidence that adding exercise to a smoking cessation program may have some additional benefit.

K. P. Cosgrove, R. G. Hunter and M. E. Carroll. Wheel-running attenuates intravenous cocaine self-administration in rats: Sex differences. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 73 (2002) 663–671

ResearchBlogging.orgThe study used male and female Sprague-Dawley rats which were individually housed in a 12 hr light/dark cycle. Experimental sessions (wheel or drug access) were 6 hours in length and conducted in the light portion of the cycle (i.e., inactive for this nocturnal species). Rats were first were habituated to 24 hr / day access to activity wheels for at least 14 days or until running patterns stabilized. Thereafter they were implanted with intravenous catheters for self-administration testing. The key experimental conditions first provided five days in which animals were permitted to press a lever to receive cocaine infusions. In the next 5 sessions, animals were allowed access to cocaine as well as the activity wheel. The third block of 5 sessions permitted access only to cocaine. In the final block, animals were permitted access to the running wheel only (although only 3 subjects participated in this stage of the experiment). (more…)

November 17, 2010

Genetic engineering against stimulant dependence?

Filed under: Cocaine, MDMA, SfN Annual Meeting 2010 — Tags: , — mtaffe @ 5:59 pm

In the 1997 film Gattica, the human species had perfected itself through genetic engineering of its offspring. Well, the richer parts of the species had done so, anyway, creating a tiered society. A poster presented at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2010 provided a clue towards engineering a more-perfect human. In this case, one that is resistant to developing dependence on stimulant class drugs of abuse.

Fontana and colleagues presented data (Abstract 545.15 “Why are some serotonin and dopamine transporters more promiscuous?“) that described a more-selective version of the dopamine transporter (DAT) and serotonin transporter (SERT).

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