Acute and repeated exposure to caffeine: effects on reinstatement of extinguished cocaine-taking behavior in rats

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1996 Jul;126(1):17-23. doi: 10.1007/BF02246406.


Previously, we demonstrated that caffeine dose-dependently reinstated extinguished cocaine-taking behavior in rats. In the present study, we determined whether this effect of caffeine would extinguish with repeated exposures. Rats were first trained to self-administered cocaine intravenously. Once reliable self-administration was obtained, the pumps that delivered cocaine were turned off and the lever-pressing behavior was extinguished. Every 4 days the rats were given an injection of caffeine (20.0 mg/kg) and its ability to reinstate responding was measured. Some rats received each of four exposures to caffeine in the previously cocaine-associated environment. Other rats received the first three exposures to caffeine in the home cage and the last exposure to caffeine in the previously cocaine-associated environment. The results indicated that although caffeine was an effective cue for reinstatement of extinguished cocaine taking, the effect was reduced when repeated exposures occurred in the test environment. In addition, when 4 drug-free days were interspersed between self-administration and reinstatement testing, the caffeine effect was greater than when testing was conducted 1 day following the last self-administration session. Thus, extended withdrawal increases the priming effects of caffeine. The results are discussed in terms of the effectiveness of cue exposure as an adjunct to current therapies for cocaine abuse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology*
  • Cocaine / pharmacology*
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Extinction, Psychological
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Narcotics / pharmacology*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Self Administration / psychology


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Narcotics
  • Caffeine
  • Cocaine