Individual Differences in Cocaine-induced Locomotor Activity in Rats: Behavioral Characteristics, Cocaine Pharmacokinetics, and the Dopamine Transporter

Joshua M. Gulley, Brian R. Hoover, Gaynor A. Larson, Nancy R. Zahniser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Outbred male Sprague-Dawley rats can be classified as either low or high cocaine responders (LCRs or HCRs, respectively) based on their locomotor response to acute cocaine. Concomitant measurement of dopamine clearance in these rats revealed that the differential behavioral responses are associated with the magnitude of dopamine transporter (DAT) inhibition by cocaine. Here, we investigated several factors that might contribute to cocaine-induced behavioral variability and its association with differential inhibition of DAT function. In rats classified as LCRs or HCRs after 10mg/kg cocaine injection, we found no differences in (I) novelty-induced locomotion, (2) cocaine levels in dorsal striatum or nucleus accumbens (NAc), (3) DAT number or affinity in NAc, or (4) DAT affinity for cocaine in NAc. In rats given 20 mg/kg cocaine, behavior was more uniform across individuals, but still warranted separation into LCR/HCR categories. Additionally, we analyzed the stability of the LCR/HCR classification made during the first test with 10 or 20 mg/kg cocaine by retesting rats 7 days later with saline or cocaine (10 or 20 mg/kg). Before injection, HCRs were more active relative to LCRs and to their own behavior on the first test day. Following cocaine, LCRs and HCRs exhibited similar drug-induced changes in locomotion, but there were unique effects that depended on the cocaine dose given on the first and second test days. Our results argue against several likely explanations for individual differences in cocaine-induced behavior and highlight the influence of a single cocaine exposure on subsequent behavioral responses to the drug.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2089-2101
Number of pages13
JournalNeuropsychopharmacology
Volume28
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cocaine
  • Dopamine transporter
  • Exploratory behavior
  • Individuality
  • Psychostimulants
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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