Date of Award

4-16-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Kyle Frantz, PhD - Chair

Second Advisor

Matthew Grober, PhD

Third Advisor

Andrew Clancy, PhD

Abstract

Rationale: Amphetamine abuse by adolescents predicts long-term drug dependence. Heightened vulnerability to drug abuse could be due to higher sensitivity to drug’s reinforcing effects. Rodents are used to study age-related sensitivities to drugs. Objective: We compared intravenous amphetamine self-administration between adolescent and adult male rats on an operant schedule of reinforcement measuring the reinforcing efficacy of a drug. Methods: After surgery, adolescent and adult rats acquired lever-pressing behavior reinforced by amphetamine infusions. Results: Both age groups exhibited more infusions per session as dose increased. However, neither the number of infusions per session nor total amphetamine intake differed across age groups. Conclusion: Although rapid transition is reliable to test reinforcing properties of stimulants, results suggest that amphetamine is an equally efficacious reinforcer among both age groups. In regards to humans, these results suggest that other factors, like social influences, explain higher rates of drug intake by adolescent compared with adult humans.

Included in

Biology Commons

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