The authors previously demonstrated that Fischer 344 (F344) and Lewis inbred rats differ in acquisition of cocaine self-administration. Other studies show that acquisition and maintenance of drug self-administration are predicted by locomotor activity in a novel environment among outbred Sprague-Dawley rats. The present study was designed to determine whether this relationship extended to F344 and Lewis rats. In Experiment 1, F344, Lewis, and Sprague-Dawley rats were trained to self-administer cocaine and tested with several doses under fixed- and progressive-ratio schedules of reinforcement. Self-administered infusions and ineffective active lever presses--those emitted during infusion and time-out periods--were assessed. In Experiment 2, separate sets of rats of each strain were examined for locomotor responses (distance traveled and center time) under novelty conditions. Results show that F344 rats self-administer more cocaine than Lewis or Sprague-Dawley rats under both schedules and emit more ineffective lever presses--a possible measure of craving. Strain comparisons of locomotor responses suggest that center time, not activity, relates to self-administration behavior. Maintenance studies of cocaine self-administration rather than acquisition may better reflect vulnerability to addiction.
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