Reinforcing effects of σ-receptor agonists in rats trained to self-administer cocaine

Takato Hiranita, Paul L. Soto, Gianluigi Tanda, Jonathan L. Katz

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62 Scopus citations


σ-Receptor (σR) antagonists have been reported to block certain effects of psychostimulant drugs. The present study examined the effects of σR ligands in rats trained to self-administer cocaine (0.032-1.0 mg/kg/inj i.v.) under fixed-ratio 5-response schedules of reinforcement. Maximal rates of responding were maintained by 0.32 mg/kg/inj cocaine, or by the σR agonists, 1,3-di-(2-tolyl)guanidine (DTG; 1.0 mg/kg/inj) or 2-(4-morpholinethyl) 1-phenylcyclohexane-1-carboxylate hydrochloride (PRE-084; 0.32 mg/kg/inj), when substituted for cocaine. Lower response rates were maintained at higher and lower doses of the compounds. No dose of the σR antagonists [N-[2-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)ethyl]-N-methyl-2-(1-pyrrolidinyl)ethylamine (BD 1008), N-[2-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-ethyl]-N-methyl-2-(dimethylamino)ethylamine (BD 1047), N-[2-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)ethyl]-4-methylpiperazine (BD 1063)] maintained responding appreciably above levels obtained when responding had no consequences. Presession treatment with σR agonists dose-dependently shifted the cocaine self-administration dose-effect curve leftward. The dopamine-uptake inhibitor, (-)-2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-fluorophenyl) tropane (WIN 35,428), dose-dependently shifted the DTG and PRE-084 selfadministration dose-effect curves leftward. Treatment with the σR antagonists dose-dependently decreased response rates maintained by DTG or PRE-084, but did not affect cocaine self-administration. Response rates maintained by maximally effective DTG or PRE-084 doses were decreased by σR antagonists at lower doses than those that decreased response rates maintained by food reinforcement. Although σR antagonists block some cocaine-induced effects, the lack of effect on cocaine self-administration suggests that the primary reinforcing effects of cocaine do not involve direct effects at σRs. However, the self-administration of σR agonists in cocaine-trained subjects, facilitation of cocaine self-administration by σR-agonist pretreatment, and the facilitation of σR-agonist self-administration by WIN 35,428, together suggest enhanced abuse-related effects resulting from concomitant dopaminergically mediated actions and σR-mediated actions of the drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-524
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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