Objectives: Toluene is present in many commercial products and is subject to abuse by inhalation. The goal of this study was to extend previous reports indicating that rats will exhibit a positive conditioned place preference to inhaled toluene vapors and to determine the dose-response relationship for inhaled toluene in terms of exposure concentration and number of exposures. For the conditioned place preference experiments rats were exposed to toluene vapors at concentrations of 800, 2000, 3000 or 5000 ppm in one compartment of a three-compartment box.
Results: Following six conditioning sessions with toluene, a significant place preference was obtained at 2000 and 3000 ppm, but not at 800 or 5000 ppm. Extending the number of toluene pairings at the 2000 and 3000 ppm concentration to 12 significantly enhanced the place preference compared to that at six pairings.
Conclusions: These experiments extend our previous finding that rats will show a conditioned place preference to inhaled toluene, and indicate that a reinforcing "dose" of toluene depends on both the concentration and number of pairings.