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Effect of social housing and oxytocin on the motivation to self-administer methamphetamine in female rats

Westenbroek, Christel, Perry, Adam N., Jagannathan, Lakshmikripa, Becker, Jill B.
Physiology & behavior 2019 v.203 pp. 10-17
cocaine, dopamine, females, males, methamphetamines, microdialysis, motivation, oxytocin, public housing, rats
Social housing has been shown to attenuate the motivation for cocaine in female, but not male rats. Here we investigate the potential mechanisms mediating the effect of social housing on the response to methamphetamine (METH). Female rats were individually or socially (pair) housed. The dopamine (DA) response to an acute METH infusion (0.3mg/kg, i.v.) was investigated using in vivo microdialysis in the nucleus accumbens with or without oxytocin (OT; 0.3mg/kg, i.p.) 30min prior to METH. The effects of social housing and OT on self-administered METH (0.06mg/kg/inf) was investigated.The METH-induced DA response was higher in individually housed compared to socially-housed females. On the other hand, individually housed females had a significantly higher breaking point (BP) than socially-housed females. Two weeks of OT treatment reduced BP in both groups. Reinstatement to METH was more pronounced in isolates compared to socially-housed females. More of the socially-housed females had very low BP than did the individually housed females. OT was most effective in reducing BP in females with moderate to high BP, irrespective of housing conditions.These data show that social housing attenuates escalation of METH intake and reinstatement of METH seeking in female rats, and that chronic OT treatment can reduce motivation for METH.