Enhanced conditioned inhibition following repeated pretreatment with d-amphetamine
Harmer CJ., Phillips GD.
We have shown that prior repeated exposure to d-amphetamine facilitates appetitive Pavlovian conditioning. However, animals sensitised in this manner also show elevated levels of stimulated activity. To investigate whether enhanced conditioning was dependent upon increased activity, a conditioned inhibition task was employed in the present study. Rats received d-amphetamine (2 mg/kg, IP) or vehicle once per day for 7 days. After a 7-day drug-free period, an activity assay confirmed that repeated d-amphetamine treatment markedly elevated the locomotor response to a subsequent challenge with 0.5 mg/kg d-amphetamine. Conditioning began 6 days later. In phase 1, stimulus A+ (light or tone) immediately preceded sucrose availability (excitatory conditioning). In phase 2, sucrose again was presented after A+ alone, but not after presentation of a compound of A+ with a second stimulus (AB-). Sensitisation enhanced the acquisition of conditioned approach behaviour to the excitatory stimulus A+ in phase 1. Furthermore, acquisition of conditioned inhibition to the stimulus compound, AB-, was also facilitated. Thus, sensitised rats showed reduced levels of responding to the stimulus compound far sooner than controls. Finally, a retardation test was carried out in stage 3, in which the inhibitory stimulus B- was paired alone with sucrose reward. Sensitised rats initially showed retarded acquisition of excitatory conditioned responding relative to controls, suggesting that B possessed stronger inhibitory associations in these animals. However, sensitised animals again exhibited higher levels of responding in later sessions, consistent with the enhanced excitatory conditioning shown in phase 1. These findings suggest that prior repeated d-amphetamine enhanced the acquisition of inhibitory and excitatory Pavlovian associations; a propensity not readily attributable to stimulated locomotor hyperactivity. © Springer-Verlag 1999.