Rats orally self-administer corticosterone

Brain Res. 1993 Sep 17;622(1-2):315-20. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(93)90837-d.


Corticosterone, the major glucocorticoid in the rat, may modulate the reinforcing properties of addictive drugs as well as act as a positive reinforcer for intravenous self-administration. Since glucocorticoids are generally administered to humans via the oral route, we examined the ability of corticosterone to induce oral self-administration in the rat. In a first experiment, animals with free access to food could choose between a corticosterone solution and water. Three doses (25, 50 and 100 micrograms/ml) were tested. The group receiving the 100 micrograms/ml dose was also submitted to an extinction followed by a reversal test. In a second experiment, we examined whether the reinforcing properties of corticosterone could induce drinking independently of food intake. In the pre-test phase rats had access to food only during a fixed period of the day (11.00 h to 14.00 h). Corticosterone solution (200 micrograms/ml) or tap water were available during this period, with free access to tap water for the rest of the day. During the test period, access to food was shifted forward in time, while the availability of the corticosterone solution remained the same. The first experiment showed that rats preferred a corticosterone solution to tap water, developing self-administration in a dose-dependent manner. This preference could be extinguished, but was regained during the reversal phase. In the second experiment, animals that had access to the corticosterone solution drank more than rats that had access to water in the absence of food. These results indicate that corticosterone has reinforcing properties after oral administration.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Choice Behavior / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Classical / drug effects
  • Corticosterone / administration & dosage*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Self Administration
  • Substance-Related Disorders / physiopathology


  • Corticosterone