It has been shown that pretreatment with dopamine (DA) receptor blockers disrupts the effect of intravenously (IV) and intracerebrally (ICV), but not intraperitoneally (IP) administered cocaine on place preference conditioning (PPC). The present study was undertaken to further evaluate possible differences between IV and IP cocaine PPC. To this end, several factors which may differentially influence IV and IP cocaine PPC were examined. Firstly, dose-response effects were studied. Intravenous cocaine produced PPC within a narrow dose range (0.5-2.5 mg/kg). Animals receiving IV injections of 5 and 10 mg/kg cocaine experienced convulsions and did not show PPC. For IP cocaine a 10-fold increase in dose (10 mg/kg) and twice the number of training trials was required in order to obtain PPC equal in magnitude to that with IV cocaine (0.5 mg/kg; two trials). Cocaine PPC was retained at least 1 month. Following IV cocaine preference developed for the side associated with the drug regardless of whether the conditioning was to the least or most preferred side. After IP cocaine, preference developed for the drug side only when the drug was paired with the least preferred side. Rats trained with IV, but not IP, cocaine significantly preferred the drug familiar side to a novel compartment. Preference for the IV or IP cocaine side developed regardless of whether testing was carried out in the drugged or undrugged state, excluding possible state-dependent effects as an explanation of the cocaine PPC. The results show PPC procedure to be a valid test for evaluating rewarding properties of IV cocaine. However, they fail to show rewarding effects of IP cocaine.