Effects of GABAergic modulators on food and cocaine self-administration in baboons

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Drugs that indirectly alter dopaminergic systems may alter the reinforcing effects of cocaine. The inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) has extensive neural connections in mesolimbic regions that appear to modulate dopamine. The current study evaluated the effects of GABAB receptor agonists baclofen and CGP44532, the benzodiazepine agonist alprazolam, and the GABA reuptake inhibitor tiagabine on lever responding maintained by low dose cocaine injections (0.032 mg/kg) or by food pellet (1 g) delivery in baboons. The benzodiazepine antagonist flumazenil was tested as a negative control. Cocaine or food was available under a fixed ratio (FR 10) schedule of reinforcement during daily 2-h sessions. During baseline conditions, cocaine and pellets maintained similar numbers of reinforcers per session. Baclofen, CGP44532 and tiagabine dose-dependently reduced the number of cocaine injections, where as the benzodiazepine antagonist flumazenil did not. Baclofen, CGP44532 and tiagabine also produced dose-related decreases in food-maintained behavior. In contrast, the benzodiazepine agonist alprazolam, which positively modulates GABAA receptors via the benzodiazepine site, produced decreases in cocaine self-injection, but not food-maintained behavior. Thus, the effects of alprazolam were specific for cocaine-maintained behavior, where as the effects of baclofen and CGP44532 were not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-376
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 12 2005


  • Baclofen
  • Benzodiazepine
  • GABA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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