Prior exposure to salient win-paired cues in a rat gambling task increases sensitivity to cocaine self-administration and suppresses dopamine efflux in nucleus accumbens: Support for the reward deficiency hypothesis of addiction

Jacqueline Marie N. Ferland, Tristan J. Hynes, Celine D. Hounjet, David Lindenbach, Cole Vonder Haar, Wendy K. Adams, Anthony G. Phillips, Catharine A. Winstanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rats trained to perform a version of the rat gambling task (rGT) in which salient audiovisual cues accompany reward delivery, similar to commercial gambling products, show greater preference for risky options. Given previous demonstrations that probabilistic reinforcement schedules can enhance psychostimulant-induced increases in accumbal DA and locomotor activity, we theorized that performing this cued task could perpetuate a proaddiction phenotype. Significantly more rats developed a preference for the risky options in the cued versus uncued rGT at baseline, and this bias was further exacerbated by cocaine self-administration, whereas the choice pattern of optimal decision-makers was unaffected. The addition of reward-paired cues therefore increased the proportion of rats exhibiting a maladaptive cognitive response to cocaine self-administration. Risky choice was not associated with responding for conditioned reinforcement or a marker of goal/sign-tracking, suggesting that reward-concurrent cues precipitate maladaptive choice via a unique mechanism unrelated to simple approach toward, or responding for, conditioned stimuli. Although “protected” from any resulting decision-making impairment, optimal decision-makers trained on the cued rGT nevertheless self-administered more cocaine than those trained on the uncued task. Collectively, these data suggest that repeated engagement with heavily cued probabilistic reward schedules can drive addiction vulnerability through multiple behavioral mechanisms. Rats trained on the cued rGT also exhibited blunted locomotor sensitization and lower basal accumbal DA levels, yet greater cocaine-induced increases in accumbal DA efflux. Gambling in the presence of salient cues may therefore result in an adaptive downregulation of the mesolimbic DA system, rendering individuals more sensitive to the deleterious effects of taking cocaine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1842-1854
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume39
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 6 Mar 2019

Keywords

  • Conditioned reinforcement
  • Dopamine
  • Locomotor sensitization
  • Microdialysis
  • Rat gambling task
  • Self-administration

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