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Home cage observations following acute and repeated IV cocaine in intact and gonadectomized rats

Neurotoxicology and Teratology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/
  • Cocaine
  • Intravenous
  • Ovariectomy
  • Castration
  • Behavior
  • Rats


Abstract The purpose of the present experiment was to examine the effects of acute and repeated intravenous (IV) cocaine on rat behavior in the home cage environment. An observational sampling method was used. Pair-housed, male, female, castrated (CAST), and ovariectomized (OVX) rats were administered daily IV cocaine injections (3.0 mg/kg/injection) in the home cage for 13 consecutive days, and observations occurred after the 1st and 13th injections. The incidence, i.e., occurrence or nonoccurrence of a behavior, was recorded according to a behavioral profile comprised of 11 behaviors. Data were analyzed as locomotor composite and orofacial composite scores. Behaviors not amenable for combination into a composite incidence score were evaluated independently (e.g., still behavior). Females exhibited more locomotor incidence scores than males following acute injection and more still behavior after repeated cocaine administration. Females exhibited more locomotor activity than OVX rats following acute, but not repeated, cocaine injection. There were no differences between the male and CAST rats on days 1 or 13. CAST rats exhibited more still behavior than OVX following only acute cocaine administration. This study indicates that IV cocaine-induced sex differences and the effects of gonadectomy can be measured in the home cage, and furthermore, describes a simple method to screen changes in cocaine-induced locomotor behaviors in the absence of automated equipment.

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