Background: Cue-induced methamphetamine craving increases after prolonged forced (experimenter-imposed) abstinence from the drug (incubation of methamphetamine craving). Here, we determined whether this incubation phenomenon would occur under conditions that promote voluntary (self-imposed) abstinence. We also determined the effect of the novel metabotropic glutamate receptor 2 positive allosteric modulator, AZD8529, on incubation of methamphetamine craving after forced or voluntary abstinence.
Methods: We trained rats to self-administer palatable food (6 sessions) and then to self-administer methamphetamine under two conditions: 12 sessions (9 hours/day) or 50 sessions (3 hours/day). We then assessed cue-induced methamphetamine seeking in extinction tests after 1 or 21 abstinence days. Between tests, the rats underwent either forced abstinence (no access to the food- or drug-paired levers) or voluntary abstinence (achieved via a discrete choice procedure between methamphetamine and palatable food; 20 trials per day) for 19 days. We also determined the effect of subcutaneous injections of AZD8529 (20 and 40 mg/kg) on cue-induced methamphetamine seeking 1 day or 21 days after forced or voluntary abstinence.
Results: Under both training and abstinence conditions, cue-induced methamphetamine seeking in the extinction tests was higher after 21 abstinence days than after 1 day (incubation of methamphetamine craving). AZD8529 decreased cue-induced methamphetamine seeking on day 21 but not day 1 of forced or voluntary abstinence.
Conclusions: We introduce a novel animal model to study incubation of drug craving and cue-induced drug seeking after prolonged voluntary abstinence, mimicking the human condition of relapse after successful contingency management treatment. Our data suggest that positive allosteric modulators of metabotropic glutamate receptor 2 should be considered for relapse prevention.
Keywords: Abstinence; Addiction models; Discrete choice; Extended access; Glutamate; Incubation of drug craving; Palatable food; Positive allosteric modulator; Psychostimulants; Relapse; Self-administration; mGluR2/3.
Published by Elsevier Inc.