We examined the role of withdrawal in relapse to drug-seeking and drug-taking by testing the effects of opiate abstinence on extinction behaviour in rats trained to self-administer heroin. Male Long-Evans rats responded for IV heroin under a heterogeneous chain (VI 120 s; FR 1) schedule in which "seeking" responses preceded a "taking" response which produced a drug infusion. Responding was then measured in extinction during acute (6, 12, and 24 hr) and prolonged (3, 6, 12, and 25 day) abstinence. Sucrose consumption and somatic withdrawal were assessed at each testing period. During acute abstinence, responses on the "drug-seeking" manipulandum increased at 24 hr, whereas responses on the "drug-taking" manipulandum increased at 6 hr. Both responses were elevated during the 12-day abstinence test. Sucrose consumption was reduced and somatic withdrawal scores were increased in opiate-experienced rats at each test period. Results suggest that heroin abstinence has different effects on drug-seeking and drug-taking and that these effects do not temporally coincide with somatic measures of opioid withdrawal.

dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0087400
Canadian journal of experimental psychology = Revue canadienne de psychologie experimentale
Department of Neuroscience

Hellemans, K, Shaham, Y. (Yavin), & Olmstead, M.C. (Mary C.). (2002). Effects of acute and prolonged opiate abstinence on extinction behaviour in rats. Canadian journal of experimental psychology = Revue canadienne de psychologie experimentale, 56(4), 241–252. doi:10.1037/h0087400