Modulation of Long-Term Potentiation in the Rat Hippocampus Following Cocaine Self-Administration

Neuroscience. 2004;127(1):177-85. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2004.05.001.


Long-lasting neuroadaptations that occur during drug use and remain after withdrawal are thought to contribute to the persisting and compulsive nature of drug addiction and relapse. At the molecular and cellular levels, mechanisms that have been implicated in the normal process of memory formation are increasingly being identified as potential contributors to the persistence of the addicted state. To investigate the effect of cocaine self-administration on synaptic plasticity, rats were allowed to self-administer 0.5 mg/kg/infusion cocaine or 0.9% NaCl during 90 min sessions for 15 consecutive days. These cocaine and saline self-administration subjects were then restricted to their home cages for 3, 30, or 100 days (3, 30, and 100 day cocaine/saline withdrawal groups) before the assessment of the induction and reversal of long-term potentiation (LTP) in the CA1 region of hippocampal slices. The magnitude of LTP was increased in the 3-day cocaine withdrawal group as compared with the 3-day saline withdrawal group, but this effect was short lived, as the 30-day cocaine and saline withdrawal groups exhibited similar LTP magnitudes. Interestingly, LTP was significantly decreased in the 100-day cocaine withdrawal group compared with the 100-day saline withdrawal group. These results support the hypothesis that the capacity for LTP is persistently altered after withdrawal from exposure to an addictive substance. In addition, this alteration can be differentially expressed such that depending upon the duration of the withdrawal period following the last drug exposure, LTP may be enhanced, unchanged, or suppressed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / drug effects
  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cocaine / administration & dosage
  • Cocaine / pharmacology*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Long-Term Potentiation / drug effects*
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Memory / physiology
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Self Administration
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / metabolism
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • Cocaine