Background and purpose: Many studies have demonstrated a role of hypocretin 1 (orexin 1) receptors in home-cage food consumption in rodents. However, the role of these receptors in operant food self-administration or relapse to food seeking in animal models is unknown.
Experimental approach: In Experiment 1, we trained food-restricted rats (16-20 g per day) to lever press for high-fat (35%) pellets (3-6 h per day, every other day). We then tested the effect of the hypocretin 1 receptor antagonist SB 334867 (10, 20 mg kg(-1), i.p) on pellet self-administration. In Experiment 2, we trained rats to self-administer the food pellets, and following extinction of the food-reinforced responding, we tested the effect of hypocretin 1 (3 and 6 mug, i.c.v) on reinstatement of food-seeking and the effect of SB 334867 on this reinstatement. In Experiment 3, we tested the effect of SB 334867 on reinstatement induced by non-contingent pellet exposure (pellet-priming) or the pharmacological stressor yohimbine (2 mg kg(-1), i.p).
Key results: SB 334867 attenuated high-fat pellet self-administration. In contrast, SB 334867 had no effect on reinstatement of lever presses induced by hypocretin 1, pellet-priming or yohimbine.
Conclusions and implications: These data indicate that during dieting, hypocretin 1 receptors contribute to operant high-fat pellet self-administration, but not to relapse to food seeking induced by acute re-exposure to the food itself or by the induction of a stress-like state.