Initial sensitivity to psychostimulants can predict subsequent use and abuse in humans. Acute locomotor activation in response to psychostimulants is commonly used as an animal model of initial drug sensitivity and has been shown to have a substantial genetic component. Identifying the specific genetic differences that lead to phenotypic differences in initial drug sensitivity can advance our understanding of the processes that lead to addiction. Phenotyping inbred mouse strain panels are frequently used as a first step for studying the genetic architecture of complex traits. We assessed locomotor activation following a single, acute 20 mg/kg dose of cocaine (COC) in males from 45 inbred mouse strains and observed significant phenotypic variation across strains indicating a substantial genetic component. We also measured levels of COC, the active metabolite, norcocaine and the major inactive metabolite, benzoylecgonine, in plasma and brain in the same set of inbred strains. Pharmacokinetic (PK) and behavioral data were significantly correlated, but at a level that indicates that PK alone does not account for the behavioral differences observed across strains. Phenotypic data from this reference population of inbred strains can be utilized in studies aimed at examining the role of psychostimulant-induced locomotor activation on drug reward and reinforcement and to test theories about addiction processes. Moreover, these data serve as a starting point for identifying genes that alter sensitivity to the locomotor stimulatory effects of COC.
Keywords: Cocaine; inbred strains; locomotor; mice; pharmacokinetics.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society.