Fischer and Lewis Rat Strains Show Differential Cocaine Effects in Conditioned Place Preference and Behavioral Sensitization But Not in Locomotor Activity or Conditioned Taste Aversion

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Current research suggests there are genetic differences in susceptibility to drug abuse. One way to examine this relationship is to study inbred strains, such as Lewis (LEW) and Fischer 344 (F344) rats, that show differential biochemical and behavioral effects in response to psychoactive drugs. In the present study several behavioral effects of cocaine were compared in these strains, including conditioned place preference (CPP), conditioned taste aversion and locomotor activity. Cocaine CPP was greater in LEW rats than in F344 rats. In contrast, cocaine conditioned taste aversion did not differ between LEW and F344 rats, or did the locomotor activity levels seen after the first cocaine administration. LEW rats, however, showed enhanced locomotor activity to repeated cocaine administrations at all doses tested, an effect not seen in F344 rats. These data suggest that differences in the development of cocaine CPP in LEW and F344 rats are not due to differences in detection of or in inability to condition to cocaine. Rather, these differences in CPP may reflect strain differences in the response to repeated cocaine administrations and may be related to previously observed biochemical differences between the two rat strains.