Renewal of drug seeking by contextual cues after prolonged extinction in rats

Behav Neurosci. 2002 Feb;116(1):169-73. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.116.1.169.


Contextual stimuli associated with drug exposure can modulate various effects of drugs, but little is known about their role in relapse to drug seeking. Using a renewal procedure, the authors report that drug-associated contextual stimuli play a critical role in relapse to drug-seeking previously maintained by a heroin-cocaine mixture (speedball). Rats were trained to self-administer speedball, after which drug-reinforced behavior was extinguished over 20 days in the self-administration context or in a different context. On the test day, rats exposed to the drug-associated context, after extinction in a different context, reliably renewed drug seeking. The authors suggest that the renewal procedure can be used to study mechanisms underlying relapse to drug seeking elicited by drug-associated contextual stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Association Learning*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Cues
  • Extinction, Psychological*
  • Heroin Dependence / psychology*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Motivation*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Self Administration / psychology
  • Social Environment