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Brain Sci. 2012, 2(4), 667-683; doi:10.3390/brainsci2040667

Cocaine Sensitization Increases Kyphosis and Modulates Neural Activity in Adult Nulliparous Rats

1
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA
2
Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
3
Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 September 2012 / Revised: 13 November 2012 / Accepted: 23 November 2012 / Published: 27 November 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
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Abstract

Although data from both animals and humans suggests that adult cocaine use can have long term effects on behavior, it is unknown if prior cocaine use affects future maternal behavior in nulliparous females. In the current study, cocaine or saline was administered to adult female rats for 10 days, the animals were withdrawn from cocaine for 7 days, and the females were then exposed to donor pups to induce the expression of maternal behavior. Nulliparous females sensitized to cocaine were more likely to retrieve pups, spent more time caring for the pups, and were more likely to express full maternal behavior on day 8 of pup exposure. The fMRI data revealed significant effects of pup exposure in the hippocampal CA1 region, and effects of cocaine in the anterior thalamus and periaqueductal gray. Prior adult cocaine use may have lasting effects on offspring care, and this effect is not dependent on pup mediated effects or the endocrine changes of gestation and lactation. The present findings provide support for the hypothesis that maternal motivation to exhibit maternal behavior is enhanced by prior cocaine sensitization, possibly due to cross sensitization between cocaine and the natural reward of maternal behavior.
Keywords: cocaine; sensitization; maternal behavior; kyphosis; crouching; nursing; hippocampus; thalamus; periaqueductal gray cocaine; sensitization; maternal behavior; kyphosis; crouching; nursing; hippocampus; thalamus; periaqueductal gray
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Nephew, B.C.; Caffrey, M.K.; Felix-Ortiz, A.C.; Febo, M. Cocaine Sensitization Increases Kyphosis and Modulates Neural Activity in Adult Nulliparous Rats. Brain Sci. 2012, 2, 667-683.

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