The Animal Core for Addiction Related Behaviors of the NIDA P30 Center at Temple University will support collaborative NIH-funded research projects using in vivo rodent models in order to advance scientific knowledge on drugs of abuse, addiction, pain and the intersection of drugs of abuse with HIV/AIDS.
One aim of the Core is to provide the scientific expertise, personnel, equipment and other resources that are necessary to assess drug reinforcement, reward, reinstatement, and related endpoints of cognition and emotional function in rats and mice as needed to rigorously evaluate potential new therapeutic compounds and targets, as well as to elucidate neurobiological mechanisms underlying addiction. Another aim of the Core is to provide mutant rodent models to P30 collaborating investigators in order to enable study of specific molecules and pathways in vivo. Breeding animals in a central facility reduces the expense and promotes access of these valuable models to multiple researchers. Core personnel will work with investigators to design experiments including an emphasis on appropriate controls, data analysis, and result interpretation. If requested by collaborators, the Animal Core will provide training in behavioral methods, or Core staff will perform the tests independently. The Core offers the following approaches: intravenous and oral drug and ethanol self- administration, operant responding for food or sucrose, conditioned place preference and aversion, intracranial self-stimulation, learning and memory assessments, anxiety- and depression-like behavioral tests, use of stress models and other methods as needed. New innovative behavioral assessments and animal models are proposed in this renewal application in order to enhance the impact of the research supported by the Animal Core for Addiction Related Behaviors. These include the application of behavioral economic methods and intermittent access paradigms to drug self-administration studies, measurements of ultrasonic vocalization to assess positive and negative affect during behavioral testing, breeding of transgenic Cre rats, and support of humanized mouse models of HIV-1 infection. The Core serves as a national resource by providing the knowledge, skills and equipment necessary to enhance research programs and to promote extension of NIH-funded projects to include behavioral endpoints and animal models relevant to substance abuse research.
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