Intravenous cocaine self-administration: individual differences in male and female C57BL/6J mice

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2007 Jun-Jul;87(2):267-79. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2007.04.023. Epub 2007 May 5.


This study examined individual differences in male and female C57BL/6J (C57) mice responding for intravenous cocaine reinforcement. The experiment used 4 groups of mice, distinguished by sex and cocaine unit dose (0.3 or 1 mg/kg/infusion). Mice trained to lever respond for IV cocaine were given the drug initially on an FR2 schedule and then on a Progressive Ratio 2(PR2) schedule. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) techniques were used to examine data generated across four FR2 and four PR2 sessions, as well as within session data when cocaine was delivered on the PR2 schedule. HLM techniques, although uncommon in the animal literature, characterize individual differences in human studies and are likely to be useful in more complex preclinical studies. Analysis established distinct patterns of self-administration both across and within sessions. Responses for cocaine delivered on the FR2 schedule was dose-dependent, but did not differ according to sex. Response output was greater when either dose of cocaine was delivered on the PR2 than the FR2 schedule. Although response output for the more rewarding 1 mg/kg unit dose was similar for the two sexes, males responded more and had greater cocaine intake than females when the less reinforcing 0.3 mg/kg dose was delivered at the more behaviorally challenging PR2 schedule. HLM analysis of response patterns and cocaine intake within the PR2 sessions corroborated this sex difference and also indicated that trajectories differed for individual mice after accounting for the sex and dose factors. The reduced response output by females for cocaine in the present experiment is consistent with previous reports that sex differences in the rewarding effects of either alcohol or food reinforcement were revealed for C57 mice only when delivered on more behaviorally demanding schedules (e.g. PR2 or FR100).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Estrous Cycle / physiology
  • Female
  • Individuality
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Psychological
  • Reinforcement Schedule
  • Self Administration
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / psychology*