Toluene and many toluene-containing products are abused via inhalation. Previous investigations have used the place preference paradigm to evaluate the rewarding effects of commonly abused drugs such as morphine, cocaine, and amphetamine. A conditioning paradigm of toluene inhalation was developed in order to estimate the rewarding effect in mice. Conditioning sessions (five for toluene, five for air) were conducted twice daily for 5 days using a newly developed airtight inhalation shuttlebox (15x30x15 cm: wxlxh), which was divided into two compartments of equal size. One compartment was white with a textured floor, and the other was black with a smooth floor. All conditioning sessions were 20 min in duration, with a minimum of 7 h between sessions. Test sessions were carried out 1 day after the final training session with mice in a drug-free state. The time spent in each compartment during a 20-min session was measured using a digital video camera. Exposure to toluene vapors (700-3200 ppm) produced a significant conditioned place preference in mice. These results suggest that the conditioned place preference procedure using the newly developed airtight inhalation shuttlebox constitutes an important tool for studying the rewarding effect of abused solvents.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science B.V.