Discriminative stimulus effects of cocaine and amphetamine in rats following developmental exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are environmental neurotoxicants known to affect the brain dopaminergic (DA) system. This project investigated whether developmental exposure to PCBs would alter the discriminative stimulus effects of psychostimulant drugs known to act on the DA system. Female Long-Evans rats were orally exposed to 0, 3, or 6. mg/kg/day of an environmentally relevant PCB mixture from four weeks prior to breeding through weaning of their litters on PND 21. When they reached adulthood one male and female/litter were trained to discriminate cocaine (10.0. mg/kg, IP) from saline by repeatedly pairing cocaine injections with reinforcement on one operant response lever, and saline injections with reinforcement on the other lever. After response training, generalization tests to four lower doses of cocaine (7.5, 5.0, 2.5, and 1.25. mg/kg, IP) and to amphetamine (1.0, 0.5, 0.25, and 0.125. mg/kg, IP) were given two days/week, with additional training dose days in-between. Percent responding of the PCB-exposed rats on the cocaine-paired lever was significantly higher than that of controls for the highest generalization dose of cocaine, and lower than that of controls for the highest dose of amphetamine. Response rate and percent responding on the cocaine lever did not differ among the exposure groups on the days when the training dose of cocaine was given, suggesting that the generalization test results were not due to pre-existing differences in discrimination ability or rate of responding. These findings suggest that developmental PCB exposure can alter the interoceptive cues of psychostimulants. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Publication Title

Neurotoxicology and Teratology